London tattoo legend Lal Hardy reveals the fascinating hidden world of tattoo, past and present.

This book showcases the history of tattooing featuring items and memorabilia from Lal’s amazing private archives: unpublished pictures details and anecdotes, including historical stencils and flash, posters, business cards, passes and tickets of tattoo events, tattoo themes stamps, glass negatives, ancient sculptures, tattoo kits, tools and customised machines, bubblegum packagings, t-shirts, fine example of pop art, ceramics and figurines, postcards, temporary tattoos of all kinds, supply catalogues, magazines, books, memorabilia and tributes relating to tattoo legends such as George Burchett and The Great Omi, and much more.

Lal Hardy via TimeOut London, picture by Rob Greig
Lal Hardy via TimeOut London, picture by Rob Greig

All these items tell a beautiful story of tattooing from ancient time to the present: it’s like a journey that anybody should miss.

Lal Hardy was born in London in 1958. He took an interest in tattooing during the Teddy Boy revival of the mid-1970s. In 1976 he received his first tattoo, a panther’s head and dagger, from Dave Cash in Wood Green, London. By 1978HArdy was tattooing from his home. Then, in 198, he made a leap of faith and opened New Wave Tattoo in Muswell Hill, London, where he still tattoos to this day. Many of Hardy’s early clientele came from British subcultures and it was amid these diverse groups that he first gained recognition for his punk-rock, new-wave tattooing. An avid collector of tattoo memorabilia, Hardy also collects tattoos, displaying on himself the work of over eighty artists. He has been featured in numerous television and media productions. Lal is part of an international community of highly respected tattoo artists. This is his sixth book.

The foreward is by Dr. Matt Lodder, an expert on body art and body modification. He is the author of Tattoo: An Art History and is Director of American Studies at the University of Essex.