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Exclusive Interview: Kelly D. Williams x Ed Templeton Part 2

Juxtapoz // Friday, 21 Aug 2009


Interview by Kelly D. Williams


A few years ago I read an interview with you where Ari (Marcopolous) asked about how your geographical choice of Orange County has effected your art, or how your art has been effected by your life in the suburbs of Orange County. At the time I was reading the interview, my wife and I were moving to Southern California to be closer to some of the brands I was doing work for, and I was very discouraged about making the move to Orange County. And then in this process I read your interview, and it inspired me to press on, and find value in being geographically disconnected from the art scene at large. Is your perspective about that whole issue still the same?


Yeah. Culture is where you make it. If you and me and 10 other people started doing things around Orange County then the seed is planted. But yeah, I just use the place as a goldmine for artwork. And when I go to a big metropolis I am alive and fresh for the experience.

Above: Cover and Inside shot of Ed Templeton's Deformer, his 2008 chronicle of his Orange County upbringing


My wife and I live in a little community where we share garages with our neighbor. My garage also happens to be my studio, so I have all sorts of weird crap lying around including a five gallon gas tank with YOUR NEXT written on it. Don’t ask why I had this written on a gas tank – I think it was for a show. But anyway, one day I was in the garage painting when my sweet neighbor lady came in to confront me. It turns out that for nearly a year, she thought that my YOUR NEXT gas can was a direct threat to her – like I was going to burn her house or car or something. I felt awful that she was afraid of me for so long, without even asking for an explanation. When she confronted me, she was in tears so I felt terrible. But from her point of view, it would scare me, too. I had to explain to her that I am a very happy and kind person, and that the gas can was just a piece of art. We ended up making peace and laughing over the misunderstanding. Have you had any strange encounters with neighbors peeking in your garage and seeing something really whack or anything?


That is pretty crazy. I let the neighbor boy into my garage this year. I think he was tripping on all the stuff laying around, asking a thousand questions. He would bring his little bros over to see things. I was painting a portrait of Deanna and her boob was out in the picture, so I think he and his friends were amped on that. I have had some strange looks, but nothing as dramatic as yours.

Ed and his wife, Deanna


That little guy was probably so stoked on the visual oddities in your garage. When you were a kid, what did you draw the most?


Battle scenes, robots, faces. Various weapons. Basically the Transistor Sect is exactly what I was drawing as a boy, but in a new form.


That makes sense. What’s your opinion on the merge of art and politicking that we saw with this last election? Almost eerily, we saw much of the art community rally around “their” candidate, raising the US Presidential hopeful to become a popular hipster icon. Is there a reason art and campaigning should coexist, or perhaps a reason why they should remain separate?


I think political art is very important. Art is a very powerful tool, and Obama was smart to incorporate it into his campaign. It should co-exist for sure because it is a vital part of human life in my opinion. It should be part of everything.


What is your current skate setup? I mean all of it- the dirty details. Wheel size, board width, risers or no risers?


8.25 Toy Machine Monster logo deck, gripped with a little side bit cut out and a sticker under that. Silver Thunder trucks, right from the bag, no changes. No risers. I forget what bearings. Perhaps Swiss, but probably a mix and match between those and Toy Machine bearings. Ricta wheels, naturals without the core. 54mm. No jiggle on the wheels, I like them tight. The trucks are loose, too loose to be good for flatground. On my deck I have Emerica and RVCA stickers like a responsible pro.

I love when people know all the details of what they skate. Probably because I like to know all that stuff. You know- geeky conversations about bearings and brands of grip tape make me happy.


I’m too jaded to care about setups anymore. As long as it rolls.


Actually, I just wanted to know what your setup was so I could see if it was a magical formula. Maybe it’s the slice in the griptape I’m missing. By the time this interview hits press, will any of the Toy Machine ams be pro?


Probably not. We just got Leo Romero on the team.


One time I was doing an art show in Long Beach, and I walked outside of the gallery to get some fresh air. I look across the street and I see Matt Bennett sitting out on his porch drinking water from a milk jug. It was July. He came over to the exhibit and we chatted a little- he seemed very nice. Who do you pick on the most on the team?


It probably wasn’t water. Everyone gets picked on but Nick, he is too cool to be picked on. J-Lay, Josh, Kevin, our award winning filmer, everyone is fair game.

Nick does seem pretty savvy. I’ve heard that all the foreign chicks really stick to Nick. So, you’ve had some of the grossest injuries in skateboarding. Like total neck trauma sort of stuff. What was the longest period of time that you have been off a skateboard?


The broken neck was 6 months of no skating. That was the longest. It was in the year 2000. I just did two months of no skating last year without being hurt because of an exhibition I needed to work on in LA. I just shattered my fingertip a few days ago, and have to have my first ever surgery to get pins put in it. And I wasn’t even skating.


Ouch, your fingertip? So, tell me Ed… Being a dude, I happen to have a schlong. If I asked you to do a portrait of me or me and my wife, could you leave my wiener out of it?


Not every portrait is a nude, I do ones with clothing on too. Or are you asking to pose nude and have me paint out your dick and balls? You want to be a hermaphrodite?


Sounds exciting! Do you have any funny, awesome, or awesomely funny stories about anyone in the Tum Yeto camp? Perhaps some sweetness on Swank?


I know Tod Swank used to make zines. He got in a fight with Ken Park once, and Ken Park backwards is Crap-Neck. Swank also did a McTwist. I could write the most epic, scandal filled tell-all book about the entire skate industry, but it would be burning a massive bridge with all of the people that made my life worth living. So I guess those stories will go untold.

Just imagine, it could have been called the McSwank. Thanks for your time, Ed. I appreciate it, and it’s truly a pleasure to talk with one of my favorite skaters and one of my favorite artists. Any last words or declarations?


Flossing is very important, more important than brushing.


Listen to Dr. Ed, kids. Thanks again, stay well.


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