Painter and photographer, Ed Templeton, has sequestered himself in his Huntington Beach garage studio for the past 4 months preparing all new work for his solo exhibition, “Map of the Inner War,” showing later this month at the Roberts & Tilton gallery in Culver City. We ventured down behind the Orange Curtain to catch up and take a peek at what's been keeping him so busy all summer.
It looks like this is going to be a pretty large show. How long have you been working on pieces for it?
Not as long as I would like. Back in May, Deanna and I spent a month in Copenhagen doing a residency with a gallery I work with there. And after that I went on a skate tour. So really I started in July or August. It’s just been intense working. For me, painting takes a long time, especially the portraits I’m working on for the show. A majority of the work in this show is photographic, so it’s just a matter of collecting your negs and getting them printed. Deanna’s been doing some printing here in our home dark room. But I mess with the photos too…painting on them and stuff, so it has been a lot of work; a lot of sitting here in the garage. I’m starting to lose it a little, getting stir-crazy.
Do you feel like your creative process has transformed since you’ve condensed your life into just working to get this show together?
Not really. I feel more confident with the tools, but kind of leery at the same time. I’ll be working on something and think, “What am I doing? How did I get to this point right here?” Like with the portraits, I want to try to make them right, but regardless of how right I try to make it, somehow it doesn’t look right. I have to go away for a few days and not look at it, hoping that when I come back with fresh eyes it looks better. I usually have a lot of stuff on my plate, so to just screw everything and just focus on making artwork is pretty weird. I’m at the point where no one calls me anymore. They just know I have to stay home and work.
What’s your process for the portraits? Do you work from photographs?
No, I draw a live portrait on the canvas in pencil. But I do shoot photographs for reference, for remembering shadows, or if I get in a pinch of some sort. The way I paint, I cover my drawing, and sometimes the photos help remind me what the scene looked like. For this show I did portraits of Mike (Mills) and Miranda (July). For example on Mike’s, I took the panel up to LA and drew him in his home, mainly focusing on the face and loosely sketching the scene. Then I used some reference photographs, for his table, dog, and the LA cityscape. I don’t want people to have to sit there for hours while I do that background stuff.
Is there anything you are obsessing on right now, like what you want to do next, artistically?
I feel like the scope of ideas and processes I’ve put in front of myself is really wide, so I intend to keep exploring what I have been doing. I’m only at the beginning of what I want to lay down. Just with photography alone there’s so much to do outside of simply getting that single image and making a print of it. And with painting I have been taking cues from Renaissance and early religious art, working with triptychs and those themes. I am starting to mess around with silk-screens and also trying to make things on a larger scale if the subject permits.
Ed Templeton: Map of the Inner War
Roberts & Tilton
5801 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 15