Ed Templeton shows the subculture of skateboarding from 1995 to 2012 through photographs, drawings and texts. He is a photographer, artist and one of the most influential skateboarders of all time.

Artist Portrait: Ed Templeton

Get a glimpse into the lives of skateboarders at a time just before mobile phones and social media changed society forever. You get behind-the-scenes access of this fascinating subculture through EdTempleton's unique position.

From triumphs, disasters, boredom, self-medication and toxic masculinity, to sacrifice. Ed Templeton (1972, Garden Grove, California), one of the most influential skateboarders of all time, captured his environment, friends and skate adventures with a 35mm camera from 1995 onwards.

Portrait of Ed Templeton. Photo: Strictua.

Ed Templeton, Brian Anderson after big contest, Dortmund, Germany, 1999. Courtesy of the artist.

Ed Templeton, Children hold up their skateboards, Vancouver, Canada, 2009. Courtesy of the artist.

Through the detailed visual reports Templeton shares all aspects of his life and the lives of his friends and colleagues. They are not caricatures of unruly kids, but profound personalities, searching for themselves and for their place in life, at the most spectacular locations. The images form a visual time capsule of a fascinating subculture.

- Ed Templeton

“The title Wires Crossed comes from my conviction that as a skateboarder you have to have a wire loose somewhere in your mind. I mean that in a very positive sense. Skateboarding is a physically demanding feat of performance art [...] It's fleeting. That's why photography is necessary: it captures the essence."

Ed Templeton, Elissa and Brian on a train through the Czech Republic, 1999. Courtesy of the artist. 

Templetons' works surpass both the autobiographical and the documentary. Although he was part of the skateboard scene, he also took an outside view. You could call him a sort of voyeur, like the eye of the storm; quiet and observant, while life whirls around him.

Ed Templeton, Matt Bennett jumps between trains, Bethlehem, Palestine, 2005. Courtesy of the artist. 

Ed Templeton, Matt Bennett hikes to a drainage ditch, Norco, California, 2006. Courtesy of the artist. 

Ed Templeton, My bloody hand, Huntington Beach, California, 1997. Courtesy of the artist.

Templeton looks for beauty in the unusual; honest and unpolished. He often paints the backgrounds of his photos or adds text to them, placing extra focus on a subject and the person. Through this signature, he leaves an indelible impression, just as he did as a professional skateboarder.

Ed Templeton, Black skies over the High Plains, Kansas, 2004. Courtesy of the artist.

Exhibition booklet

Want to know more about Ed Templeton? Keep reading in our exhibition booklet.


Ed Templeton, Lance Mountain Jr. in a ditch tunnel, California, 2001. Courtesy of the artist.

Publication Ed Templeton: Wires Crossed

The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive hardback publication of memoirs depicting skating as a subculture between 1995 and 2012. The book contains drawings and photos, some of which are painted and have additional texts, which have been grouped intuitively by Ed Templeton. The English-language artist’s book is published by Aperture, and is available from the Bonnefanten museum shop and from online bookshops. Price: € 55. ISBN: 9781597115360.

Publication Ed Templeton Wires Crossed EN
Publication Wires Crossed. Photo: Ed Templeton.

The exhibition is made possible by: 

Logobanner Ed Templeton: Wires Crossed

Thanks also go to the collaboration partners: Long Beach Museum of Art, Mathieu Bruls Architect and Stichting Stadsnomade.

Following the presentation in the Bonnefanten, the exhibition Ed Templeton: Wires Crossed will travel on to Long Beach Museum of Art in California.

Leading image: Ed Templeton, Mike Maldonado skated a full pipe, Davenport, Iowa, 1998, GSP, 132,08 x 91,44 cm. Courtesy of the artist.


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