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13.04.2007 / Mined empty
Af: Per And
I Wunderbaum #4 bragte vi et interview med Ed Templeton i forbindelse med hans udstilling ved navn Mined Empty. Hvis du aldrig fik læst det i bladet, har du chancen nu.

Med inspiration fra egne forbilleder har Ed Templeton gjort sig til en succesfuld fotograf, kunstner og chef. Du har utvivlsomt set de reklamer og boardgrafikker, som han har lavet for sit firma Toy Machine. Men det er kun toppen af isbjerget. Ed har været foregangsmand for railskating, introduceret verden for nogle af nutidens bedste pro’s og udgivet 5 skatevideoer (plus det løse). Endvidere udstiller han sin kunst rundt omkring i verden.

I forbindelse med Templetons udstilling ”Mined Empty” på Nils Stærk galleri i København, mødtes vi til et interview med legenden. Det blev til en længere snak, om nogle af de ting der har været med til at gøre Ed til den person han er i dag. Vi håber I vil nyde interviwet, mens vi alle venter på Ed’s nye bog ”Deformer”, der udkommer i efteråret 2006. Tjek også hans blog


WDBM: When, where and with whom did you start skateboarding?

E.T.: I started in Huntington Beach, California. I think age 12 or 13, kind of late. I started skating with this kid named Eric Estrada. He´s got the same name as the guy who was on the tv program ”CHiPs”, a long time ago. Perhaps alot of danish kids will know that. Mostly this kid Eric. It´s funny because Jason Dill lived on the next street over from Eric but he was really young compared to us, and would always try to skate with us and we would tell him to get lost. It is funny that no one really knows that I grew up skating with Jason Dill, as well as Jason Lee, who was someone I started skating with after I got way more into skateboarding. My friend Eric kind of got out of skateboarding, so I started skating more with some kids at my own age who were into learning a bunch of new tricks and things. I skated with Jason Lee for a long time too. That is kind of who I skated with before I got sponsored or anything.

WDBM: Who was your first sponsor?

E.T.: My first sponsor was a company called Circle A. This freestyle guy named Bob Smeltzer, also pretty old, no kids should know about him, He was a freestyle pro, I am sure the kids don´t even know what a freestyle pro is ... You think? There used to be a thing called freestyle skateboarding, it was with a very small board and it was just about doing very technical tricks. The most tech street skater now is kind of like the freestyler in some ways, except they do it on ledges and things instead of flatground only. This guy was a freestyler and he started a company called Circle A. Which is kind of funny I guess, cause it is supposed to be like an anarchy symbol. All these punk rock guys rode for it. I think Duane Peters might have rode for it for a second. Rick Windsor and all these Sacto dudes that were really tough, and then me. My first ad in a skateboard magazine was a Circle A ad, my first photo ever in a magazine was that ad. I was doing a 50-50 on a handrail, and it was the first photo of a 50-50 on a handrail ever published. People had done it, I think Gonz had done it of course before me, but I got the first photo in the mag.

WDBM: Did it feel good to beat the Gonz at it?

E.T.: No no no, it wasn’t like a competition, it was funny because, when it came out, I knew the Gonz had done it, but I dont think that the rest of the United States knew that Gonz had done it. This guy Johnny Cop had a photo of boardsliding a rail, so people knew that it was happening, but I had the first 50-50, so I just remember thinking that it was crazy because there might be kids out there thinking, that I was the first person to do this. But the weird part is that he left my name of the ad, so my name is not on the ad anywhere. It does’nt say Ed Templeton on it. So it was such a bummer to think, that you had such a historic thing and noone knows.

WDBM: Have you always made your own graphics?

E.T.: Yeah, almost a hundred percent, if I didn’t make my own graphics, then I have asked an artist friend of mine to do it for me. Sometimes we have had an artist friend of mine do a whole series for Toy Machine. But from the beginning of getting a promodel and all of that, I told myself ”I’ve got to do my own graphics all of the time”, because I think the one thing I really was excited about, when I went into a skateshop as a kid, was knowing that Mark Gonzalez drew his own graphics. You would walk in there and see that board and go ”waw, this guy actually drew this”, it gave you a better connection to the person. I liked that, so I wanted to do kind of the same thing. If kids go and buy my board, I want them to know that I put my time and effort into making the graphic. That was the idea at first. Not so much an artistic thing, but trying to be more connected to the consumer in a way. I kept thinking how crazy it is that a kid could walk into a shop somewhere and buy a board with my name on it. I think that it is a big part of why I became more of an artist, because I set that up for myself. I set up this thing where every month or a couple of months I am going to draw a new graphic. So I was constantly thinking about drawing and new ideas.

WDBM: Do you ever think about the connection in the same way with board width? Don’t you think there should be a connection to let the pros affect the kids more?

E.T.: At the time when I first started, it was like that. It was very much about the graphic and the shape, the whole board design. And now it is very different, because the shape that kids want to ride is smaller than the one I would ride. We learned this because we’ve put out the shape that I would ride, and noone buys it. On the business end of it, it just doesn’t make sense to keep putting out a board that noone is going to buy, because your average kid who skates is probably 15. I am a 30 something year old dude, I ride a bigger board, and it is fine with me, I am a bigger person, so a big board suits me better, but a 15 year old kid is not going to ride the board that I ride. That is at least how Toy Machine sees it, I am sure the other companys are the same way. I know that all the pros ride way different boards than what they sell with their names on it, because most kids want a skinny board, the most popular seller is 7,5” or 7,25” and almost every pro I know rides an 8” or 8,5” something around there. We offer those boards of course, you can get a Toymachine board in that size, but I don’t think we have an Ed Templeton board with that size. All the pro boards are at the most popular sizes and then you can get logo boards in all sizes.

WDBM: How do you feel about the companies that produce lame graphics for their pros, without them having any input?

E.T.: I don’t think I even feel for them. I don’t really think about it. I guess I feel sad for the kids that buy those boards, because those kids are the ones that don’t think about where they spend their money or what they are supporting when they buy something. They are just buying for surface only, which is fine, I guess that it’s a part of skateboarding too, just buying the board with the graphic you like the most. You could say that someone like World Industries, their riders don’t get any say over their boards, they just get the graphics made by a guy who works there. But I have been around long enough to know that guy, his name is Mark McKee, and he is a rad artist and he does really cool graphics. Over the years his graphics have become homogeniced, but this guy has been around for a long time, and has made some of the most well-known graphics in history. The kids don’t see a connection between the pro’s they like and the board. I think for World Industries, the pro’s are secondary. They don’t have a team full of people that are well-known.

WDBM: Has Mark McKee been there from day one?

E.T.: It is the same couple of people that have been there from the beginning. Sean Cliver worked for Powell and then worked for World forever and now he does freelance work for Birdhous, so all the Hook-Ups boards, which I hate, are done by Sean Cliver, a person whom I really like and his artwork is great, and if you look at the craftsmanship of those Hook-Ups boards, they are great. He does it all by hand still.

WDBM: But the graphics are still just japanese girls?

E.T.: Yeah, just girls with big boobs and stuff, I don’t like those graphics, but they are done really well. If you look closely at the graphic, you can see that it was made by hand.

WDBM: Then would you like the graphic if it was a picture of a girl instead of a drawing? You get plenty of art with naked people ...

E.T.: That is totally different though. The graphics we are talking about are representations of a typical japanese male fantasy thing. Which is fine, it is probably pretty cute and beautiful at the same time. But it also represents this whole school-girl fantasy wich is prevelant in japanese animation stuff. That is using sex to sell, where I feel that, in my artwork, there is a certain authenticity there. Because I am not designing this stuff to be pornographic. It may be pornographic to some people, but the intent was not pornographic. If you title something pornography, that is something that was created for the sole purpose of exciting somebody. I am not creating it for that, I am actually seeing this. And everything that I see, I document. If it happens to be sex on a train or something, I am seeing that, I am experiencing that, I am documenting it and kind of logging it, and then I’m kind of sharing it in my art show. It depends on the wiever, the wiever could come in and say ”Wow, check out the tits on that photograph”. That is unfortunate, because that is not what it is about. But I can’t really stop somebody from thinking that way. But the intent of the Hook-Ups graphics are just sales, and ”look at the size of those boobs on a small girl”. That is the difference I think. Obviously there is alot of sex or nudity in my work, but that is because that is something that I am experiencing. I feel like I am experiencing it the same as anybody else too, people may think that I am a sex addict or something, but I am just showing it and that could be good or bad, it depends on the person who sees it. It is kind open for interpretation. I am just putting it on the chopping block and you can say I am fucked for doing it or maybe walk away with a shared experience hopefully or something like that. Maybe the photo is just funny, like the one of Deanna vacuuming naked. It is humouros. It looked funny. There is Deanna and she has this paste for dying her hair on her. We were going to go on a trip and she had this cream on her body to dye her hair lighter because she has dark hair. You know, weird girls stuff. So we were leaving on this trip and the furniture had sheets over it so the cat wouldn’t sit on it and put hair all over it while we were gone, and then she is just vacuuming the house, getting ready to go, and I just saw this crazy scene of a suburban housewife doing this weird shit. It is funny, so I took a photo. Some might see it as exploiting your wife.

WDBM: Have you gotten any bad reactions from people over photos like that?

E.T.: Yeah, some people have said that I am totally exploiting our relationship, and sometimes I don’t know exactly how to respond, because obviously I have been with Deanna for a really long time and I don’t feel like I am exploiting our relationship and she also has a say over what goes in a show or not. It is not like I am taking photos and printing them or bringing them to shows without her knowing. If she doesn’t want it to be seen, of course I would say ”no”. She is really shy, but she lets alot of stuff slide too, but it is very rare that I come up with ones that she doesn’t want in. It is kind of a double-sided story, because I also want us to look normal, the photo has to be beautiful and tell a story. There is a very thin line between creative and beautiful and too graphic. If I am shooting some kind of sex thing, certain ones are just obviously a snapshot like anyone might take, some photos just look pretty gross when you get them back, so it is very rare that one comes out that is really good or funny or weird enough. The idea is that you see each photo as you walk through the show, and each one gives you a feeling. What I am trying to avoid is that you walk through a show and look at a photo and just go ”Whatever”. I want each one to be like ”Waw, look at that!”, ”This is funny” or ”This is crazy” or ”This is a great moment in time” or ”This is great lighting”. Sometimes the text on the photo helps do that. Maybe the photo itself doesn’t have that apparent story, but when I write on it or paint on it, it brings out the story a little bit more.  

WDBM: Is there a message in the title Mined Empty?

E.T.:  I have this idea of time being so fleeting. The older you get, the more you realise it, and I am always wondering if it is going to get more acute than it is now. Right now at 33 I feel like time is just racing by so fast, and I do remember as a kid when time went so slowly. You would be so happy that it was christmas and you couldn’t imagine how long it was going to take before next christmas. And it did, it took so long because you were a kid. I would see my grandmother buying christmas presents the day after christmas and saving them till next christmas. And I couldn’t believe it, but for her of course, she was probably 50 or 60 at the time, she saw time in a very different way than I did. Christmas is going to be right around the corner before I know it, and I will have all these presents allready bought and ready to go. As a kid you can not understand that, you can’t even come close to it. And now when I am past 30, I can understand it. I still don’t buy presents the day after christmas, but I see that. I see how fast time goes. I have been working so much on Toy Machine and this art show and all these different things, that summer is just gone. I remember going ”Okay, school just got out, summer is starting, it is going to be great” and then ”Fuck! It’s like August now”. I hurt my knee at the beginning of summer, so I didn’t get to skate all summer, and I had to work. It was kind of bad because when I can skate during the summer we go on trips and tours and things and we spend our time alot different. This time it was just sitting at home working. Painting, working at the computer, doing Toy Machine. It just flew by. I had a book that took alot of time. It is called Deformer, and I finally turned it in now. So it should be finished for print around the 15th this month.I am constantly just thinking about names for shows, because it is really fun to name shows. On one side it doesn’t even matter what the name is for an art show, it is just an Ed Templeton art show, and the name is just an ornament for the invite, but it is there and you can use it to make something funny or different. When I was drawing this profile with a tunnel going through it,, I thought ”it looks like an empty mine”, and then the wordplay came up, like it is mined empty, so the mind is empty. Sometimes you have to dig deeper for the meaning of the titles, like the Judas Goat. You might not have known about the meaning of that one unless someone told you about it. So this one is much more obvious, especially with the image that goes along with it, you can tell instantly what it is about. But it is not about me feeling like I am at the end of my rope or anything like that. Probably the opposite. For me it is more about, especially the society I live in, Orange County, California, I feel like peoples heads have been mined empty at this point, everything has been taken out, that is worth while. I guess I am around those kinds of kids all the time in skateboarding, they don’t care about anything except skateboarding, which is fine because I guess I went through that fase too, but I see these kids, and I can tell they don’t have any other interests, whereas I always had other interests, and all my friends off course, are people who have other interests. Alot of the kids I hang around with, just care about skateboarding, and when that’s over for them, they are going to have nothing, you know? No brain, they don’t read books, are not interested in music or voting or anything. I get worryed about them, when sponsored skateboarding is over for them, but that is just one specific thing, I tend to take a cynical look on things through my painting I guess. But that’s what painting is I guess, it is an outlet for different things, critiques and criticisms about different things. It’s easier to criticise than to praise. So I’ve been trying to think about praising things as much as critisising things. I think it is harder to paint joy, than to paint misery. Misery is really easy to portray. 

WDBM: In your Toy Machine ads, you always write these funny comments about brainwashing your consumers, and slogans like ”buy or die”. Is there some other side to it? Do you feel bad about being one of these blood-sucking companies in the industry?

E.T.: That’s what it is about exactly! I think it is funny too, but I was presented with this platform ”You’re doing a company, so you have to advertise it”. And I was sitting there thinking, ”What am I advertising? I don’t have any special product that I want to talk about”. You see an advertisement on the tv for some kind of product, they are creating something new that they want you to buy and telling you how great it is. And I am sitting there thinking, it’s just a skateboard. All the skateboard companies are the same. All the boards are basically the same shape, basically the same wood construction, everything is almost the same, so what you are buying is just the company image. You are buying the Toy Machine team, you are buying the Toy Machine style, you are buying the Toy Machine graphics, you are buying what we are about. So I try to make what we are about interresting. Something worth while and good, so of course I try to sponsor skaters that I think are talented, but also bring something different to the table. I guess we get accused of being the rail company all the time, but if you see our video, you can see that all the guys that skate rails, also skate every kind of different thing as well, so it’s alot of different skating, and with the ads too, I am trying to create this thing where, as a kid, you can plug into what we are trying to say. But at the same time I was doing that, I felt evil, like I am one of these evil companies trying to get people to buy my product. So I thought that the best way to handle this, was just to go completely blatant, so it becomes funny and transparent, and not try to hide anything. Just the facts, we’re a company, we want to brainwash you into buying our gear. So I just took it to that level, and just kept going with it. That is why it is called Toy Machine Bloodsucking Skateboard Company, there is something evil about selling the thing you love. I love skateboarding, and everyone who rides for the team loves skateboarding, and that is why they are in this, but then we are trying to comodify it and sell it. So it feels a little weird. And, I think, just the fact that we’re acknowledging that, makes us a more legitimate company. I would respect a company that at least acknowledges that they are evil. Of course we are not that evil, but we are playing that role of the evil company. We don’t have unfair business practices or anything, we don’t pay our workers really shitty or anything, and we’re not doing the China wood ... Yet, at least.

WDBM:  Could you be forced to do it?

E.T.: It’s kind of up to (Tod) Swank, who runs Tum Yeto, Toy Machine is a part of Tum Yeto, and it is kind of his decision. Of course he would talk to me about it, but there could be a position where we were forced to do it. That is only if the big companies like World and Element change their prices, which they could do if they wanted to. They are getting all their wood made in China, so they could easily lower their prices, and if they lower their prices, all the companies that don’t use China wood are fucked! Because noone is going to want to buy the same exact board, with a pros name on it, where everything is the same, except that the Toy Machine board is 50$ and a World Industries board is 30$.


Her bevæger samtalen sig over på, at Jamie Thomas har flyttet produktionen af sine boardfirmaer til Mexico, og hvordan det hænger sammen med hans meget kristne syn på livet. Ed mener, at kristne kan foretage sig stort set hvad de vil, uden at det forhindrer dem i at komme i himlen.

WDBM: What made you decide to go vegan, and have you ever felt it affect your body in any way?


E.T.: No, I’ve felt fine from day one. Talking to Jamie Thomas about that (Jamie var også veganer indtil han fik synsforstyrrelser, og begyndte at spise kød igen, på sin læges opfordring – red.) I kind of realised that some people can be better prepared for it, than others. I don’t know if it just depends on your body type, some people get sick quicker than other people. So it depends on how you are built, and your immune system. And all sorts of things, if you can handle whatever diet it could be. Each person has to have a diet that fits for themselves. I started because of one of the people who are not vegan anymore, Mike Vallely, I was skating with him alot when I was young, and he was a vegetarian going vegan. I’d go out to dinner with him, and he would say; ”I’ll pay for dinner as long as you don’t get meat”, and I remember being super pissed, like ”Fuck that! I want to eat meat”, but him and this guy Christian Kline, gave me some pamphlets and things, and I read about the meat industry and I was young and got really crazy about it, like ”This sucks, I don’t want to do this anymore”. I didn’t want to put my money into this bad situation, this very uncompasionate murderous thing. So it started very much as an animal rights thing, and then over time it becam alot about health as well. Now that I have been doing it for so long, it is kind of like 50% animal rights, I still believe in that, I still think that it is the way to live, to be compassionate, and because we are this smart animal on earth, we have this brain, that gives us a bigger responsibility to care for the other animals, and of course we live in modern times and it is so easy to get non-meat, there are so many alternatives to eat. And it helps the environment so much, taking myself out of that loop, by not eating meat. That helps in a small way, but hopefully it can inspire other people to do that, so the more people that get out of that loop, the better it is for the environment. The other side is just health. From what I have read and learned and fealt and experienced myself, it is a much healthier way to live. There is alot less impact on your body, and alot of nutrients that you don’t get by eating meat. Basically, eating meat is just eating vegetables through another animal. That animal eats grass all day long, and it is filled with nutrients, so its meat and its body is filled with these nutrients from this grass, and when you are eating the meat, you are getting the nutrients through the meat with a bunch of added crap. Cholestorol and all sorts of things that you don’t need, so why don’t you just eat the grass yourself?

WDBM: And then there is so much more to eat ...

E.T.: Yeah, there is so much more, it grows alot quicker. To me it makes alot of sense, and I think that almost anyone that would look into it and learn about it, and didn’t change, is a complete idiot. That is how I see it. I don’t go around telling that to people, calling people idiots for eating meat, because not everybody has looked into it, I think alot of people are blissfully ignorant, they kind of know that it is bad, but they don’t want to know too much, because they don’t want to have that guilt on their head. But anyone who sits down and reads and learns about the meat industry, the impact it causes on our environment, and what it does and then the health facts, can’t do it. You can’t just say ”Yeah, I know everything about how fucked this piece of meat is, but I am still going to eat it”. It is kind of crazy for me to think about people I know, who used to be vegan, but aren’t anymore. They know! Mike Vallely for instance, he knows everything about it, and he still just eats meat now. But each person has their own reasons, Mike is a long-time friend of mine, and he has his reasons for what he does, he felt like it was too restricting, like you had to go to the next level all the time, first it was meat, and then cut something else out, and then something else, and next thing you know, you are going to be just breathing air only. He felt limited, he travels alot, so he just felt like it was too hard. So he made the decision to stop it. I think he still eats pretty healthy, he was always a big fan of salads, and fresh juices and things, so I am sure he still eats that kind of stuff too.I think you can be a carnivore, and eat healthy. It is possible to make much better decisions within that diet. Pick free-range meat without chemicals in it. Buy it from a better store, that specialises in selling that. So you are kind of changing, and helping in a small way towards a better society if you do that too. If you spend your money in a more compationate way, you can still eat healthy.

WDBM: So the industry is actually moving in the wrong direction, by constantly centralizing, instead of having a farm in every city, where you could go on a certain weekday and get a steak, from an animal that had been treated right.


E.T.: I could respect that alot more than people who eat at McDonalds every day. There is nothing to get there, because part of being a vegan for me is a protest. You are sacrificing convenience in a political way, like a boycott. I don’t want to put my money into those places. Dollars is all that really matters, the most important thing you can do as a person, is vote with your dollars. Corporations rule everything now, and the only thing they listen to is money. That is what voting with your dollars is all about, if you know a company is fucked, you stop bying it, even if it is a vegan product. You just go ”Fuck that company! I am not buying that product anymore!”. That’s a sacrifice and a protest. You might be in a place, where that is the only thing to eat, and you just don’t buy it because that company is fucked. If you do that, and two other people do that, and ten other people do that, and people hear about it, and start agreeing with that, a company will really feel it, they will go ”Our sales are down, what are we gonna do? We have got to change our business practices, because it is getting alot of bad press. We are fucking over our workers, and now noone is buying us anymore. We’d better change that.”

WDBM: Do you think that is what happened to McDonalds, because now they are trying to be healthier by selling smoothies and salads?


E.T.: Of course, ”Super-size me” really fucked them up, it changed alot of peoples view on it, and they started coming out with healthier alternatives, but it is kind of funny, because their salad has more fat in it than a burger, because they put so much other stuff on it. But for me, no matter what they do, even if they offered a vegan Mcburger, I am not going to go and spend my money at McDonalds. There are two camps on this however, because they made a vegan Whopper at Burger King in the states, and alot of organisations in the US, like PETA, was saying that you should go and support Burger King because they offered a vegan Whopper. That is fine, because it is helping open doors for alot of people who are only eating at fast food restaurants, because it may be all they can afford, so it is good that Burger King made that change, but that is still not going to get me in there and buy a vegan Whopper, because they still offer tons of meat. To me it is a protest, basically voting with your dollars is all that really matters. I want to hammer this one home, because it is something that I have seen in my lifetime. I have watched it happen, because when I turned vegan in 1990 og ’91, there was nothing to eat. There was no tasty soy-milks, no vegan ice cream, there wasn’t this world of things. It might not be the same in Denmark, but I can go to the store near my house, and there is everything. Every product you can imagine, that regular people eat, is there, and it is vegan. Crazy decadent flavours of vegan ice cream. That happened in my lifetime, because my dollars only went to health food stores. At one point I said ”Okay, I am going to go vegan, and only buy things without animal products”. I used to shop at the big supermarket, then I pulled out and started shopping at a health food store instead. It was more expensive, and there was barely anything to eat, but I was going with my principals. Of course alot of other people where doing this at the same time, and that is when the businesses take notice. They started losing money, and seeing it going somewhere else, and next thing you know, big companies want to make vegan products so they can take some of those market shares. All businesses care about is the bottom line, And so you can force businesses to make what you want them to make, by putting your money there. It might take a while, obviously, but over ten years, there has been a giant change. On the US tours in 1990, going across country, it was really hard to eat, there was no places to eat, now every exit off the freeway across the whole US, there is something for vegans. So that is my main message, that is the one thing you can do. Kids, I think, are so disaffected, they don’t feel like their vote counts, everyone I know did not vote for Bush, and yet he still wins. As a kid, that feels like you have no say. But you can make a big difference by spending your money in the right way. Learn about the companies that you are byuing, and make choices based on that knowledge. If you like Coca-Cola, read about Coca-Cola, and find out how fucked they are. Maybe that will change you over to Pepsi, that makes a difference. I don’t drink softdrinks at all, I don’t buy anything from anywhere. The worst I’ll buy, is once in a while, I’ll buy an iced drink from Starbucks, because they offer soy-milk, wich is kind of cool. So if I am in a place where there is no soy-milk around, there is always a Starbucks and I can get soy-milk there. I still don’t want to spend my money at Starbucks very often, but once in a while I do. But I don’t buy Pepsi, Coke, or even the bottled water companies, that are being taken over by Pepsi and Coke. They saw how many people were drinking bottled water, because noone wants to drink the water out of the plumbing anymore, because they know it is so bad. So they make this shitty bottled water, that is everywhere now. Every sodamachine has water now, and it is their water. And I don’t buy that water, because I know I would still be putting money into Coca-Cola, and I don’t want to put money into Coca-Cola. I want to support the small companies, and the more I do that, and hopefully other people do that, it sends a message, that hopefully these other companies get bigger, and take over because they have better business practices.

WDBM: With your busy life, is there anything you wish you had more time to do?


E.T. Yeah, I wish I had time to do nothing. I probably do my fair share of watching tv, but in general I feel pretty busy.

WDBM: You watch tv?  


E.T.: Yeah.

WDBM: I thought you where the guy with the ”Turn off your TV” t-shirt ...


E.T.: I am. I don’t like it, but I do. I watch tv. There are a few shows that I watch, that are pretty funny. Like ”The Daily Show”, I think they used to play it on CNN Europe sometimes, I have seen it overhere one or two times. It is like a fake newsshow, it is funny, because all the news channels are so fucked, they are just owned by news corporations too, and they never put any real news on. They never get to the bottom of real stories, or expose corporations for doing bad things, so this show is a fake news show. The whole idea is that it is supposed to be funny, but they also expose alot of stuff, they fuck with Bush constantly, it is so great. Every day they come on and just crucify Bush with his own words, like they will cut footage together from his old statements and his new statements and show that he is lying all the time. It is funny, because it is a comedy show, but what they are doing is groundbreaking. Usually if I am working all day, I will come downstairs and watch that, and then go back up and keep working.  I wish I didn’t have a tv, but I think Deanna would kill me, because she watches her fair share of tv as well, so it is in our house, and I am always threatening to throw it out the window, because it is too easy to sit down and just relax and watch tv. I am not like a total freak, I watch the Simpsons and South Park and all these other funny shows. I like to laugh. They also criticise alot of stuff in a very funny way.

WDBM: Do you ever watch skate videos?

E.T.: No, not very often. Once in a while. Usually if someone brings one over, for me to watch, I’ll watch it, But I almost never sit down to watch a skate video.

WDBM: Not even before you go skating?


E.T.: No, never. I am really bad with videos, I rarely ever watch them. I’ve only seen the Flip video one time, at the premiere. I have it, but I have never watched it. I’ll go see them at the premieres, like I went and saw the Baker premiere that just happened in LA, and watched it, so I saw that video allready. But I probably won’t watch it again, thats the thing.

WDBM: What was your favorite part?

E.T.: Dollin! Dustin Dollin. Have you seen it yet? Is it out?

WDBM: No, it’s not out here, it hasn’t even premiered here yet, so ...


E.T.: But yeah, Dollin, Ellington, and Spanky are my favorites. I think Reynolds has a good part too, but I am more of a fan of Dustin. It shows that he is crazy.

WDBM: Do you know when you invented the Transistor Sect?


E.T.: I think it happened in, I can’t give an exact date, but I remember I was on tour. And I wanted to draw a comic strip. On tour, I would always draw comic strips, making fun of different riders. So I would try to draw a comic of a rider, but I would try to make it really simple, because I was trying to do it really quick, you don’t want to spend all day doing that kind of drawing, so you have to simplify it as much as you can. So that was the idea for this guy, it is a very simplified caracter, and basically, it is out of lazyness. I said ”I am going to invent a caracter for a comic, what will be the easiest one to draw?”. So he got one eye, I don’t have to draw fingers, it is really easy, it’s just a big weird shaped guy. That is where it came from, just the easiest way possible. I don’t remember what the first comic strip was about, but the idea was that there is no name or anything, it is just the Transistor Sect. It is a whole group of characters, and kind of a mirror of the human race in a way, but very cynical of course. All they do is kill each other, like it is no big deal, chop the head off and keep walking. Like in Jump Off A Building, it looks like the one guy will take care of the other guy that fell down, and then he just barfs on him and walks away. It’s always just terrible. It was probably 1994, maybe 1993 when I started doing it.

WDBM: What are your inspirations in art, skateboarding and photography – the works?


E.T.: It always sounds kind of kookie, but truthfully just living life, is the inspiration. When you step aside and consider the fact that you are alive, that is where alot of inspiration comes from. You don’t do that when you are a kid, I don’t know what happens, but I know that when you start turning into a teenager, you kind of start thinking of things in a world sense, to some people it might happen when they are younger, like if your family is really religious or something, you think about death and stuff all the time, but at some point you realise ”Whoa, I’m alive, and I’m gonna die ...”. And all this stuff makes you think about how fragile it all is, all by chance and circumstance, here you are. Here I am sitting here, and I am alive and experiencing things, and that is kind of why I am doing this. And doing this perpetuates the experience as it goes. Now I am experiencing travelling to Copenhagen, and hanging out in a new place, and walking around and seeing that, because I do this. Of course there are always the people that came before you, that you saw, using their experiences in a creative way. Of course there are alot of people in photography especially, and all these books, the photo book is the big thing in photography, you come out with your book, and it lays out what you are about. People like Robert Frank, and all the classic names that you could think of. The way they teach photography is very straight. It is all about making a perfect photo and printing it and exposing it and focusing it perfectly and there is one school that is all about that. But the people that I have been inspired by are the people that threw that out and said ”Fuck it, this is what a photograph is, it is about living life and experiencing”. So you can write and paint on the print, and fuck it up, it doesn’t matter. It’s not about this perfect photo, it’s about the experience. The photo is blurry, but there are messages there, something is there, that shows the experience.For painting, alot of other painters that I saw from books as well, have kind of inspired me to want to do that. There are alot of people and things, that inspire you as you go.


Deanna Templeton åbner døren til det lille lager på Niels Stærk og afbryder, for at fortælle at hun lige er kommet tilbage fra en gåtur på en times tid, og for at spørge om vi snart er færdige. Ed siger, at det er vi snart.

E.T.: Yeah, it’s a hard question to answer, I could list a bunch of people and things, but the truth is just, the realisation. Some people never realise the fact that they are alive. Of course they are, everyone physically is, but it takes a certain moment to see it in a certain perspective and go ”wow, it’s that fragile. And because of that, I want to use that time wisely”. That is why this is all here, I feel like you only get one shot. I don’t believe that there is a heaven, and that I’ll get to make paintings forever. You are just here on earth, and that is it, it is that simple. It is kind of sad, but that is it. If anything, that is the best excuse ever to live your life well. Some people would say ”Oh, if you think that you just die and that’s it, then why do you care? Who cares about the environment? You are going to be gone, and then when you are dead, it doesn’t matter anymore. In your lifetime it is not going to matter”. But I think that is irresponsible. Even though I am just going to die, and leave the world to other people, and I am going to be gone, so it is not going to matter to me, it could matter to my family, it could matter to my children. It could matter to other people. There is a certain kind of caring in the idea that because we have this developed brain, then we are responsible. The fact that we can sit here thinking about the fact that we are responsible gives us a responsibility. No other animals has this, but we are still animals. That is the thing, we are still animals. That is what I am trying to say in the show. There are very base things in there, like sex, living, eating, surviving. Alot of people call it a folly, a mistake, a bad thing, that we have this brain. It actually fucks things up even more that we have this brain. Because we know what is right or wrong. A cat can just kill something, and it doesn’t ever sit there and think about ”was I right, was I wrong?” or ”was it fair or unfair?”. It just happens. That’s it. It is like dropping a book on the ground. It doesn’t matter, there is no thought, just instinct. We have this brain, that sort of fucks us up. It is fucking crazy that we have that! The minute you realise that, it seems the only thing to do is to sit aroung thinking. Outputting. For me it is just input/output. I am not saying that everybody needs to be an artist, to be a good human, but ... I don’t know what I am saying now. It is too complicated to think it all through.


WDBM: Do you think that people should just live their lives the way they want to without worrying about having to do what is expected of them?


E.T.: That is the thing, you gotta live your life according to the situation you’re in. Which is different than everybody elses situation. I am sitting here, and I am Ed Templeton. Miraculously or un-miraculously. Either way, I am in a situation now, where I am this guy, who is a pro skateboarder and an artist, and people listen to what I am saying. I am in this position, and therefore I have even more responsibility. That is how I see it. When I turned pro, and I realised that people where going to read an interview with me, like I read an interview when I was a kid, it made me feel responsible. I want to say something good, I want to say something interresting. I want to say something that could maybe take this kid to a new way of thinking. Because that is the chance I have. Someone is going to read what I say in a magazine.  To me that was such a great idea. So I sharpened myself. I read things, and got interrested in things, because I wanted to have something to say, and be an interresting person. Because I hate reading an interview where someone is just boring. And now I am going to be on the other side, as the person being interviewed. So I started doing that, and that lead to this stuff too, so I started doing art. The fact that someone is going to walk in here and see my art show, makes me responsible to make it good. So I make the show as good as I can. I make it so that I would be excited to see it myself. There is al this stuff to look at, and lots of ideas and lots of things. I don’t like when I go in a show, and it is just 2, 3 or 5 things, on a plain wall. It can be fine, I can be inspired by it, it can be beautiful, but when I get to do what I want, fuck it, I am going to go crazy. But as far as living your life goes, you need to live your life according to the situation you are in. You are you, and different sets of events happened and that is what you are. Maybe you were raped as a child and it fucked you up, or something bad happened to you and you have mental problems or whatever it could be. Something happens to you as you go, and makes you who you are, and so you have to deal with that. I think the more you quest to learn about the rest of the world, it helps you look at yourself in a new way. The more you see the world and yourself from outside, it helps you kind of change who you are. So basically, the only way you can change yourself is to look at your actions. It boils down to your actions. What do you want to leave behind as your actions? People are looking at my actions because I happen to be a pro skateboarder, so I have this fame in a small world of skateboarding. Nobody knows who I am outside of skateboarding. I am just a guy on the street, when I am walking around in Copenhagen, noone knows who I am, but if a skater walks by, he might go ”Hey, that’s Ed Templeton!”. So because of that, I think it is a good idea to think about what if someone look at my actions? That is how religious people think, when they meet up with God, they will look at their lives and see if they are worthy of going into heaven or not. That is one good thing that comes out of religion. Because your actions are who you are. Your choices and your actions. Every action causes a reaction, so you should look at it in a big circle of learning and acting on your learning. If you are asking me how I think people should live their life, I would just tell them to learn. Learn as much as you can, while you have a chance to learn. I see alot of people not even caring. The more you learn, the better choices you can make. But I definitely don’t feel like I have the authority to tell people what to do with their lives, but at the same time, I have lived alot and travelled alot. Obviously there is always someone who have lived more and travelled more than me, but I feel like I am in a position to give advice to kids. It is not always so easy to say something that is inspiring, you can’t just come up with that stuff sometimes, so I started just talking about my experiences, and then people would come up to me and say ”Hey I read your interview, and I was inspired to do this or that”. So I do have this ability to hopefully inspire people, just by doing what I am doing. What it boils down to is that I am the same as everybody. I didn’t come from a rich family, we were totally white trash, and very poor, and here I am succeeding in a way. I became a pro skateboarder and I am doing these art shows, and I have a story to tell, as far as this wasn’t just handed to me. I worked for this. Whatever I am, I worked super hard for, I became this on my own through trying to learn outside of school. I didn’t graduate high school. I am a high school drop-out. And I feel like I have success based on this, so that is the message I want to send the kids, you don’t have to have all these things that people think you need to have. All you are forced down your throat as a kid is that you need to go to college and you need to become an obedient worker, and whatever, but there is another way to do it. There is another way to become succesfull, and that, of course is open to enterpretation, what succes is. Succes for some people might be having a yacht and a mansion, and for other people it could be just being happy. Having a wife and a nice family and a house. It doesn’t matter. I am just saying that I came from nothing, and I feel like, if I have made anything in my life, it is because I have searched. It probably comes off like some inspirational 12-step program, I’ll take the risk. If people think I am a nerd, that is okay.

WDBM: If our readers want to know more about you, or get inspired by you, what should they check out?


E.T.: As of right now, Toymachine.com is pretty shitty, but it should be changed to having an Ed Templeton page, with some resources. It will have some artwork and some photos and publications I have been in. Hopefully it will have interviews posted online and things like that. But it is kind of hard, because it is kind of kookie to have a website. I am grappling with how to do it in a not-lame way. But that is one thing, so I guess I could say – go to Toymachine.com or try to go to an art show. And my book is going to be out in fall of 2006. It is called ”Deformer” and it should be available anywhere.




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