Ed Templeton is a skateboarding legend-turned-artist from Huntington Beach, California. He is best known for starting the skate company Toy Machine in 1993, a company who have gone on to uncover some of the most influential skaters ever to have stood on a board, including Bam Margera, Jamie Thomas, Chad Muska and Kerry Getz, as well as releasing board graphics, adverts and films that have always taken skating in a new, creative direction. Ed was famous in the skate world for his skateboard deck graphics, before coming to prominence in the mainstream art world after winning $50,000 dollars for his photography book Teenage Smokers in a Search for Art prize in 2001. Ed also paints, makes films and creates photography books, and was an obvious interviewee for the “Beautiful Losers” project, a touring art exhibition, collected art book and feature documentary film that also included Shepard Fairey, Harmony Korine, Mike Mills, Steven “Espo” Powers, Aaron Rose, and Thomas Campbell,
Ed’s blog, described as a “traffic jam on the information super highway,” can be found on the Toy Machine website, and is a window into his vastly creative world, showing Ed as he takes in art exhibitions around the world, a hectic traveling schedule still as head of Toy Machine, and the site includes some fantastic drawings, paintings, photographs and short films detailing his life in general. Ed’s wife Deanne Templeton is often described as Ed’s muse, and also blogs about their adventures, with fantastic photography and more behind-the-scenes peaks into the couple’s life. In 2010 Ed toured created the The Cemetery of Reason show (and consequent book), the biggest collection of his art to date. The show opened at Gent’s SMAK museum, and Emerica made a film prior to the event:
Looking Sideways caught up with Ed Templeton at the end of 2011 and asked him a few questions:
Hi Ed. Whose art did you like growing up?
I loved Neil Blender, Mark Gonzales, Chris Miller, John Grigley and Jim Phillips. I would hang out in the skate shop looking at their artwork on skateboards. When I got interested in art a bit later, I was first hooked by Austrian Expressionism, Klimt and Sheiele, Kokoshka, and by David Hockney.
Can you describe the process of making something. Do you start with a commission, or a spark of an idea, or just nervous energy that needs to be released?
For my artwork I make things springing from ideas that I have. What shape or materials depends on the ideas. The process is very direct. When I’m doing skateboard graphics it is done by the seasons. We have to make winter and summer catalogs filled with new graphics. So periodically I have to sit down and concoct a number of skateboard graphics. And those ideas come from hanging out with and knowing the pro skaters whose graphics I’m making. I like to include something of their personality in the graphics. The process for those starts with a sketch, then a finished line drawing using brush and ink. That gets scanned in and the coloring and shading gets done in Adobe Illustrator.
What art do you own personally, if any?
I have some artwork from Mark Gonzales, Margaret Kilgallen, Thomas Campbell, Barry McGee, Tobin Yelland, Leigh Ledare, Dennis McGrath, Chris Johanson, Ashley Macomber, Kevin Christy, and Ivory Serra, among others. Mostly small things that I have traded for over the years. Works on paper and photographs.
For fans of your work, is there anyone you’d strongly recommend they check out in the mainstream art world, and in the board art world, or both?
If you are interested in photography, you should know about Jim Goldberg, JH Engstrom, Bruce Davidson, Alex Webb, and Boris Mikhailov. I like seeing what skateboard graphics Anti-Hero, Skate Mental, and Slave are putting out. I really love Raymond Pettibon’s artwork too.
What have you got any big projects planned for 2012?
No. 2012 will be a year to spend some time in the studio. 2010 and 2011 was a hectic year for me, doing the Cemetery of Reason show all over Europe, and then a bunch independent shows and books. I need some time to paint and get my next moves together.
Ed is represented in Europe by the Tim Van Laere Gallery in Antwerp, Belgium (Tel.:+32 3 257 14 17; www.timvanlaeregallery.com)Tweet