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15th Annual Orange County Arts Awards Honoree Profile:
Helena Modjeska Cultural Legacy Award for Outstanding Artist

This is the second in a series of profiles of our 15th Annual Orange County Arts Awards honorees.  It is an excerpt from a 2013 article by Mo Alabi for CNN.  The full article may be accessed online here.


"Donald Edward Hardy was born in Newport Beach, California, and his mother began to encourage him to draw when he was 3. As a preteen, he took pens and colored pencils to the skin of neighborhood friends and became an amateur tattoo artist in his neighborhood.


He had his first exhibition at the Laguna Beach Art Festival after graduating high school and attended the San Francisco Art Institute. After turning down a graduate position at the Yale School of Art, according to his memoir, he met and began a correspondence with famed tattoo artist "Sailor Jerry" Collins in 1969. He went on to study in Japan with legendary tattoo artist Horihide, working with clients from the infamous yakuza, or Japanese mafia. Both men influenced the heraldic aesthetic that defines Hardy's signature ornate images today.


He opened his San Francisco tattoo shop, Tattoo City, in 1977 and is credited with helping transform tattooing from a mark of sailors and prisoners to a mainstream option for self-expression. His 1995 gallery show, 'Pierced Hearts and True Love: A Century of Drawings in Tattoos,' prompted a New York Times article that asked whether tattooing could be fine art.


Hardy's forays into clothing started with silkscreen shirts bearing his artwork for sale in his shop. In 2003, the artist was approached by two men who saw his work in Juxtapoz art magazine. The two ran Ku USA, an Asian-influenced casual wear brand, and they became the first to put Hardy's images on clothing.

French fashion businessman Christian Audigier came across the shirts and approached Hardy to do a licensing deal that would make him 'a global phenomenon,' Hardy wrote in the book [Wear Your Dreams: My Life in Tattoo]."

Read more here. 






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OC Department of Education Appoints New Visual & Performing Arts Coordinator:  Steve Venz

Steve Venz, principal of Quincy Jones Elementary School in Los Angeles, the first public, urban elementary school of its kind that focuses the instruction around jazz music, has been appointed Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator for the Orange County Department of Education, succeeding longtime VAPA Coordinator Jim Thomas, who retired in June.  For seven years, Venz was the music administrator for the Los Angeles School District, coordinating, supervising and supporting the elementary, middle and high school music students and teachers. He  currently serves as Advocacy and Legislation Representative for the California Association for Music Education and is a member of the Board of the California Music Project.  Venz holds a M.A. in Educational Administration from California State University, Northridge and a B.M. In Music Education from the University of Georgia.  Arts Orange County's Deputy Director Pat Wayne served on the interview panel for OCDE in their search.

Santa Ana's Mysterium Theatre, founded five years ago by local stage director Marla Ladd, has announced that it will begin producing in a second venue this month: the historic La Habra Depot Theatre with Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest.  Currently running at its Santa Ana theatre is Hair.  More details here.

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