Don Ed Hardy’s lithographs, created in the spring of 2007, continue the “look” of his Ghost Writer painting series which has been developed over the past five years. They are evocative of ancient Chinese stone rubbings, or x-rays. Both prints refer to earlier images from Japanese art history.
Our Gang State II features a central image of Zao Gongen, a fierce protectorate deity central to a mystical Esoteric Buddhist sect high in the mountains of Japan. This has been copied verbatim from an irregular slab of incised stone that was carved in 1001 A.D. and still resides in the monastery. In the original, the deity dances among a crowd of lesser buddhas, mortals, and weird figures. In Our Gang State II, the crowd is made up of a variety of “players” from Hardy’s lifelong iconography, including figures from Asia, classic American tattoo designs, California pop culture, and cartoon portraits of Hardy and his wife.