Feature Article

Opening Night at Ed Templeton’s Wires Crossed

Opening Night at Ed Templeton’s Wires Crossed

In a back-page world, skateboarding has always been right on the cover. Nothing’s hidden away
when the truth sits at the coping’s edge. In other words, what you see is what you get.
Photography has always been as important as the decks themselves. Skaters of all kinds could cling
to images of worlds and styles beyond their own. So stepping into the opening night of Ed
Templeton’s new photography exhibition, Wires Crossed, to the sounds of shattering glass, I knew
what I was in store for.

Opening Night at Ed Templeton’s Wires Crossed
Opening Night at Ed Templeton’s Wires Crossed
The crowd taking it in on Opening Night at Ed Templeton’s Wires Crossed

The Long Beach Museum of Art’s two-story gallery was filled with guests of all sorts, giggling or
gripped in thought as they viewed Templeton’s perspective of the culture from 1992 to 2012. Teens
stood enthralled by a photo of a four-fingered boy. Shiny suits sipped wine beside young skaters
holding boards. Parents wrangled their disinterested children by the hood like a choke-chain. Old
skate-rats grinned as they read handwritten road stories about playing “hide-a-dook,” which I learned
was a game involving taking a shit in a hotel room for the maid to find.

Opening Night at Ed Templeton’s Wires Crossed

“Lotta dicks,” my wife whispered, after overhearing two people discuss gender power dynamics in a
photo of a woman holding, what appeared to be, a dildo protruding from a man’s pants.
And then there were the pros and mainstays. Jamie Thomas, who was the muse of a few photos,
seemed to only be able to move a few inches at a time before being stopped to answer questions.
Nuge appeared transfixed by a case of polaroids. Tommy Guerrero and Shepard Fairy chopped it up
before a fan entered to praise them with clasped hands as if he were performing a prayer. And so
many more held court outdoors with drinks and good times.

Opening Night at Ed Templeton’s Wires Crossed

With so much history in that timeframe it seems almost impossible to whittle down the memories to
fit in just one space, but Wires Crossed was handled beautifully. This wasn’t the typical collection
one finds in their skate zine. Besides the expected skate photos were dated illustrated maps of past
tours. Demo photos were flipped to face the crowd the attended them. Captions and tales were
scribbled into a frame around images of skaters around ash-laced tables and bars. Crudely written
signs requesting boobs, VHS tapes, and even pants were on display often beneath a looped reel of
skate footage or interviews.

A powerful part of the gallery, dubbed the “Injury Cluster,” showcased bruises, scrapes, and scars.
Here the fun times were stripped away. And within this wall of pain you could see a deeply damaged
Templeton, suffering his sixth concussion in Paris. From there were shots of him in the hospital, his
wife Deanna by his side physically upset. The caption: “I’m so sorry for all the stress and worry I’ve
caused her over the years.” A powerful statement highlighting a struggle not expressed much in our

Opening Night at Ed Templeton’s Wires Crossed
Injury Cluster – Ed Templeton’s Wires Crossed

Presenting this hurt was not to showcase the recklessness that outsiders perceive, but to display the
determination skaters have, to better themselves, their loved ones, and the culture. And no one could
present this like Ed Templeton. Having always set the standard for the artistic nature of
skateboarding, Templeton and proved it’s we can continually shape, and be shaped, by skating
regardless of setbacks and snares. His work has taught us that it is possible to successfully combine
one’s passions if you push yourself. Pushing past your abilities. Sometimes pushing your body to the
brink, to push toward your desires.

All by starting with a single push of a wooden board with two trucks and four wheels.

The art show is going until May 5th at the Long Beach Museum of Art. Go check it out!

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