Work inspiration with Ed Templeton

Portrait photo by Deanna Templeton

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Ed Templeton

Professional skateboarder, painter and photographer

My Name is Ed Templeton. I'm an artist working in both painting and photography. I was a professional skateboarder from 1990 to 2015. I started Toy Machine Bloodsucking Skateboard Company in 1993. I do all of the ads and most of the skateboard graphics.

How did you get started in photography? What is a turning point in your professional career?

I started painting in 1990. I started shooting photos in a more serious way in 1993. I think the moment you start carrying a camera at all times is the moment you see the world in a different light. You start experiencing and seeing things in a "viewfinder" manner and thinking about how the things you are seeing can translate into a story for a potential future viewer. But with cell phones being cameras, is it true that everybody is seeing the world on these terms now? For me personally, photography changed the way I drifted through life.

What is your favorite genre of photography and why?

Street and Documentary. I like photographers who get involved, who are close to people, who are looking and recording the human condition. Those photos are a time capsule for future generations. And when they are done well are both historical documents and high art.

What software / hardware do you use for your work?

For skateboard graphics I use a brush and ink for the drawing, sometimes pens. Then I scan the line art and clean that up in photoshop. I do all the coloring using Illustrator. For the ads and designing books I use InDesign. I use a Leica M6 camera with a 50mm lens, no filters, and I shoot mostly Kodak Tri-X B&W film. I don't do any digital photography for my artwork, only for fun on instagram.

What is your ideal work environment?

My home office and studio are pretty ideal. Both are small and sometimes too hot. But overall they work very well and are very convenient. But since the question is "Ideal" work environment, I would like a spacious open area with lots of tables, wall space, and natural light. That's what I don't have now.

Where does your photography inspiration come from? (Do you believe in 'inspiration' at all)?

I think you can be inspired by artwork or by how other artists approach their art. Anyone saying they are not inspired by other people are lying. Influence and inspiration are different. I try not to be influenced, but I'm constantly inspired. I get inspiration from my peers and from old masters. Photographically I love Jim Goldberg, Tom Wood, Anders Petersen, Garry Winogrand, Susan Meiselas. In painting David Hockney, Barry McGee, Chris Johanson, Peter Doig, Otto Dix, Raymond Pettibon. You see these people and you and spurned to do and make by how they lived and make. I want to build on and add to the conversation that these artists started or are part of.

Who are the creatives you admire most?

I think Geoff McFetridge has a great eye and sensibility. Mike Mills, Miranda July, all the artists and photographers I mentioned above, Aaron Rose, so many great people making things in this world.