Ed Templeton (born July 28, 1972) is an American professional skateboarder, skateboard company owner, photographer and contemporary artist. He is best known for founding the skateboard company, Toy Machine, a company that, as of January 2013, he continues to own and manage. He is based in Huntington Beach, California.
Templeton was born in Garden Grove, Orange County, California, USA. His family lived in various places in Southern California before moving to Huntington Beach. He began skateboarding in 1985 in Huntington Beach, with friend, Jason Lee.
Outside of skateboarding, Templeton is a painter, graphic designer, and photographer, areas that he has gained a reputation within without any formal training—the Photography Colleges website, in an article entitled "New School Photography: Ed Templeton", identifies Templeton as "probably the most influential contemporary photographer". Templeton's signature model skateboards for the New Deal company were self-designed and he subsequently became the head designer for his own brands—Templeton produces all of the art work for the Toy Machine skateboard company that, as of January 2013, is his primary skateboarding project. Templeton is also a co-editor of ANP Quarterly, an arts magazine started in 2005.
In a 2013 interview with The Huffington Post, Templeton clarified that his first art show was in 1993 and that he has "been skating, going on tours, painting in the studio and doing a show and sometimes a mixture of both. Sometimes going on a tour and then leaving for a few days to go to my show", describing it as "chaos in a lot of ways." In the same article, Templeton is counterposed to the "wholesome" depiction of Tony Hawk and the "sporting good stores"; instead, Templeton is associated with "teenage misfits". Templeton's painted works (and a single photograph) are featured on his Tumblr profile—maintained by the artist himself—"The Cul-de-sac of Lameness".
In 2000, Templeton's book of photography, Teenage Smokers, won the Italian Search For Art competition and Templeton was awarded US$50,000. In both 2001 and 2011, Templeton's artwork was featured in Juxtapoz magazine and, in 2002, the art exhibition, "The Essential Disturbance", was held at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, France, a show that was accompanied by a 100-page book, The Golden Age of Neglect, published by Drago.
Templeton is a featured artist in "Beautiful Losers", a project that consisted of several elements: a touring art exhibit, a collected art book and a feature documentary film, all of which include the work of various contemporary artists.
A large section of the art in the Beautiful Losers project covers skateboarding and other urban themes. In 2003, Templeton, along with members of the Toy Machine team, skated on a variety of purpose-built structures—including a car—at the base of the Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center for the temporary showcase of Beautiful Losers. Templeton's work and career are also subjects in the Beautiful Losers film.
In 2008, Templeton published Deformer—the culmination of eleven years of preparation and research, in which he explores the "incubator of suburban outskirts", Orange County, California; that is, the area in which he spent his formative years. A documentary film, entitled Deformer, was also produced and released, featuring Templeton and the directorial work of Mike Mills; Mills also collaborated with Templeton for the Beautiful Losers project.
In early 2011, Templeton released a book featuring a collection of photographs, entitled Teenage Kissers. In October 2011, Templeton explained the origin of the project:
Unlike many photo projects, the concept was an afterthought. It’s typical for a photographer to come up with an idea or concept and then go out and shoot it. But in this case I have always shot people kissing whenever I had the chance. When curator/writer Arty Nelson called me and suggested we do a show of Teenage Kissers at the Half Gallery in NYC, he was thinking of my first book Teenage Smokers (1999). I did a quick search of my archive and realized I had more than enough to do a show. So Teenage Kissers was conceived as a sister book to Teenage Smokers. It’s the exact same size and has a very similar cover.
The Australian publication, Curvy, which focuses on the work of female artists, identified the collection as a favourite, in specific relation to Templeton's oeuvre, and Curvy contributor, Katie O, described the photographic series in the following manner: "It’s equal parts cute and gross. It’s a perfect depiction of teen romance – curiosity, infatuation, desperation to grow up, and getting in over your head. The photos are awkward and wonderful and will remind you how tricky being an adolescent was – and how glad you are it’s over."
On January 12, 2013, Templeton held an opening event for a photographic exhibition, entitled "Memory Foam", at the Roberts & Tilton gallery in Culver City, California, US. Consisting of sixty-eight photographs, the show features Templeton’s impressions of the people of Huntington Beach, California, US and ended on February 16, 2013. Actor, Neil Patrick Harris, who is reportedly an admirer of Templeton's photographic work, attended the event and clothing brand, eswic, published a video segment that was filmed at the opening.
Lucy Moore, former friend of the late London bookstore owner Claire de Rouen, selected Templeton's book Litmus Test (Super Labo) for a tribute to de Rouen that was featured by the Modern Matter magazine in March 2013. In regard to Templeton's photographic exploration of Russia, Moore explains: "Like litmus paper turning irreversibly red after it has been soaked in lemon juice, the photographs document the way that first impressions leave indelible marks upon our memory, shaping what follows." Moore also writes that Templeton's skateboarding may be responsible for the collection's "feeling of equivalence between photographer and subject."
Templeton explained in an April 2013 interview that the Leica M6 camera (with 50 mm lens) is the camera that he primarily uses for his photographic work, but that he also likes to use the Fuji GF670. Templeton also stated that film is his preferred photographic medium and that he only uses digital photography for Instagram images. The same interview also revealed that Templeton looks for "anything that illustrates the human existence" when shooting photographs.
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