“I think the period between ’76 and ’86 were the most important, formative years in tattooing. Things have just moved on from there. With the collapse of the iron curtain you see how much fantastic tattooing was coming out of what was previously Eastern block countries, Russia… even tattooing coming out of China. It just became such a worldwide phenomenon.” – Lal Hardy
In the United Kingdom, Lal Hardy’s name is synonymous with the craft and history of tattooing. And it should be.
He grew up during the Teddy Boy revival and the punk rock scene of the late 70s, and his life as a tattoo artist spans the decades in between.
As a tattoo artist during such a pivotal time in tattoo history, Lal has had the experiences of both worlds in ways few other artists today ever will. Being left to his own devices, Lal has become an unconventional artist in many ways, but figuring out tattooing with a hands-on approach has also led him to break through new barriers in the art. Not having a traditional apprenticeship opened him up to approach traditional techniques from new angles.
Lal’s work spans different subject matters and finds its influences in traditional old school tattooing all the way to Eastern Asian influences and realism that rivals any modern day tattoo artist.
Lal Hardy is what it means to be a self-made man in the tattoo industry. He is the embodiment of determination. His life’s work has been devoted to the craft and the culture of tattooing, as well as the preservation of that legacy. Lal Hardy never gives up, and never stops amazing us with his work and his influence on tattoo culture.