The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Blair Mastbaum presents … Ed Templeton Day *

* (restored)

A portrait of Ed Templeton in front of his signature clouds.


BIO by Ed Templeton

I was born in Orange County California in 1972.
Grew up in Anaheim, then my family moved to a trailer park in Corona.
Dad ran off with the babysitter.
We moved to Huntington Beach.
I began skateboarding when I was 13.
I got sponsored by a company called Circle-A, then left them for Schmitt Stix, which then turned into New Deal.
By the time I was 18 I had started skateboarding professionally.
I left high school with a month left to enter skate contests in Europe. This was a very eye opening experience. Upon my return I started painting, it was 1990.
In 1993 I started my own skateboard company, Toy Machine Bloodsucking Skateboard Company.
In 1994 I had my first solo exhibition at Alleged gallery in New York. That is also the year I started taking photography seriously.
I started making zines.
1995, Mike Mills makes a short film about my life in the suburbs called “Deformer.” The name being an ongoing theme in my life.
In 1996 Toy Machine’s Welcome to Hell video comes out.
In 1998 I started showing both photography and paintings together in my exhibition at Space 1026 in Philadelphia.
In 1999 my first book was published, Teenage Smokers, along with my 2nd solo exhibition at Alleged Gallery.
2001 Thrasher magazine runs a retrospective article, “10 years of Templeton”
In 2002 my first major book of photographs was published in Italy, “the Golden Age of Neglect.”
2005 I finish work on “Deformer,” my book about growing up in Orange County, due for release in 2006.
To this day I still skate professionally and run Toy Machine. I live in Huntington Beach, California with my wife Deanna and our cat Ptah.


Ed’s major publications thus far (he also made a vast quantity of zines not included here.)

The Prevailing Nothing. I rate this book a 9 1/2 out of 10. Its photographs capture the bodily fluids and sweat and grit that are part of his best work.


Situation Comedy. I rate this book a 7 out of 10. Still impressive.


Teenage Smokers, I rate this book a 10 out of 10. What more can you ask for than teenage smokers?


The Contagion of Suggestability. I rate this book a 10 out of 10. His LA gallerists (Roberts and Tilton) call this his “dirty book.”


The Golden Age of Neglect, I rate this book a 10 out of 10. His most well-known publication recalls Larry Clark and Nan Goldin, but with an entirely new visual vocabulary.


Examples of Ed’s work.

The Teenage Smokers suite of photographs


An installation view of one of Ed’s photographic exhibits


Photo from the Golden Age of Neglect


I have a T-shirt of this photo, which is skater Arto Saari in hospital in Finland in 1999.


This is a bridge in Laconia, New Hampshire. I went there in October.


These are twin girls making out with their snowboarder boyfriends in New Hampshire in 1999.


This is a screenprint self-portrait of Ed in the hospital when he had pneumonia.


Ed has started to paint more since 2005. This is titled “Jesse”


This is called “In His Name.”


I don’t know the name of this painting. Do you?


Here’s a tour of my Ed Templetons in my house.

A diptych shot in Finland

My favorite one, I think.

A Geoff Rowley portrait

Towering over my iPod



Link to Ed on Toy Machine website:
Ed’s cul-de-sac of lameness:
Ed’s Wikipedia entry:
Interview with Ed on Fecal Face:
Ed is a vegan, so here’s an interview about it:
You can order a free Ed Templeton-designed PETA sticker here:


Ed’s work is all about sweat, cum, blood, scabs, pussy juice, and plenty of other excellent things. His own body has been broken and bloody so many times that it’s incredibly familiar to him. Because his work is so honest and free of irony, I find it really exciting, really sexy, and really vital. I bought like eight of his works before he was well-known outside the skateboarding world, so they were cheap. Now, people like Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher buy his work (I saw them buying his work actually.) I think Elton John may have a couple, too.


Ed gets hurt a lot (evidence)




Here’s Ed’s Beautiful Losers exhibit.

Here’s an interview with Ed for RVCA.

Ed doing a kickflip 180 nosegrind.

Ed’s section from the “Jump of a Building” Toy Machine skate video.




p.s. Hey. ** David, Hi. Mm, I  don’t remember that story, no. It’s early though. Cold beach (thumbs up emoji). The Blow Monkeys! Dr. Robert, ‘Digging Your Scene’, etc.? 20 pounds is a lot to pay for a geriatric Blow Monkeys unless they were magically non-geriatric. You sure do like that 80s stuff. David and the 80s, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g. Ha ha. ** Misanthrope, A lot of people seem to like ‘Dune’ too. But a lot of people liked the same director’s miserable ‘Blue Runner’ movie, so … Yeah, when I still lived in LA, a thing was to get a bunch of pals together and go see some giant movie on opening night and then go eat Mexican food and have fun verbally crapping all over it. So, yeah. Same old David then. Sad to hear that, man. ** Dominik, Hi!!! Well, yes, we should see movies together. When you come visit the big P or I visit the big B, let’s set aside a few hours and share some projected something or other. The good thing about the vax pass thing here is it’s strictly enforced, and that definitely adds to how chill people are here about everything re: Covid at the moment. Ha ha, sorry about the minor heart attack. Oh, my picks if I only get three? That’s tough. Okay, uh, ‘Frozen Child 1’, ‘Child Chain Gang’, and one of the ‘Stitched Couples’. I can live happily with that trio. Thank you, love! I’m not sure if this link will work, but, if so, love giving you a tiny peek of a low res test version of the living room in our Haunt game in flames, G. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. Yeah, they’re the best. The industry standard. Excellent bout the great feedback! Maintain and exploit that buzz, pal. I’ll watch the VU doc online if need be, but people keep saying it should be seen in a theatre, so I’ll try a bit longer. ** Bill, Well, I guess you do! I’m hoping my fave bookstore here will have Dodie’s book in stock in a day or two. Great about the Joel Lane post! Thanks so much! ** David Ehrenstein, It’s been so long since Ezra Miller was in an interesting film, and he was in so few of them, that I can’t remember if I thought he was a good actor or not. I do know about the emotionally heated reactions around the Dave Chapelle thing, yes. ** Steve Erickson, I just know that when I get stuck, it’s almost always overthinking, which almost always kills the spontaneity-requiring pleasure. Yeah, Unit 70’s stuff has an actually dark dark side. ** Okay. Today I restore a very old, until-now dead post made by the fine writer Blair Mastbaum back when he was a regular commenter on this blog. It’s nice. Check it. See you tomorrow.


  1. David

    ‘The story’ is of Jon Venables and Robert… that shopping centre… not Dr Robert… though… I don’t think…. The blow monkeys were brill…. I leave today… Liverpool…. will go through this post on the way back to London looks interesting… cheers Dennis

  2. Ian

    Hey Dennis, thank you to Blair for this post. I always loved toy machines art when I was a kid. Skateboarding is such an amazing sport. The most urban man made sport in existence. It’s crazy what they can do now vs the early 90s. The kids these days are insane.

    All is well with me in mtl. Working construction. I recently read You will love what you have killed from your recommendation. It was really good. I loved the way the kids were presented. It felt like an honest portrayal of kids, the good and the bad. Yesterday I read The Finishing School. A very enjoyable read with some funny situations and characters. I am experiencing one of those moments when all my library books come in at the same time so IW is still in the on deck circle.

    Hope all is well with you in Paris,

  3. Dominik


    Thank you for resurrecting this post! I love Ed Templeton’s work so, so much, and though I don’t know Blair Mastbaum, I need to agree with his taste and choices – he included some of my favorite pieces, and I’m *very* jealous of that print he calls his favorite.

    Agreed. And I think we should definitely opt for the big P instead of the big B (which means that I need to finally start traveling around a bit)…

    Excellent choices! I thought about picking the “Child Chain Gang” too.

    AH!! Yes! It works! Thank you!! It sounds so eerie too. Just five more days, right? Love feeling lonely because the spider he used to share his workspace with seems to have moved during the night, Od.

  4. Misanthrope

    Dennis, Great repost. I’m liking it. And of course I like Blair too. Have read all his books.

    Hahaha, that’s pretty much what we’ll probably end up doing with Dune. Or I will. As one friend said to me recently, “Why do you hate everything?” Hehehe. Yeah, just picking shit apart on the daily. But really, a film like this, or any film really, I approach it with a critical eye. I expect good shit. I don’t get it, I’m a say something.

    Last night, Kayla was running down the Marvel movies though we enjoyed them. “I was just thinking, why the fuck…” “It makes no sense.” “Plot hole!” 😀

    Yeah, I don’t know what David’s gonna do, but he’s gotta do something. Just a downward spiral. We probably need to stop enabling him too.

    Have a good weekend. Mine’s Dune and errands and maybe some private/personal Misa stuff. Right now, I’m locked out of my account at work because of some IT screw up. Ugh. I had so much work today and have barely been able to do anything. Ugh.

  5. Bill

    Not surprisingly, I immediately looked up some of these books online. The prices are eye-popping, wow.

    Hope Dodie’s book arrives on your shores soon. And my copy of Anniversary of Never is here! It never rains but it pours. (Umm, appropriate since we’ve had a rainy few days.)


  6. Steve Erickson

    My review of LABYRINTH OF CINEMA came out today: (The page is pretty crowded, but it’s around the halfway point if you scroll down.)

    I also released my IN SEARCH OF ep today:

    The Alec Baldwin shooting was a shock. Why does anyone in Hollywood still have actors fire real guns, even with blanks, when it’s so easy to use fake ones and add muzzle flash in post-production?

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