Ekberg was born in Värmdölandet. His father was an organ maker by profession. Ekberg began working in the Gustavsberg Porcelain Factory aged 12. He started out as a helper in the factory and eventually progressed to the post of painter. His first designs were simple landscape motifs.
Ekberg was also a good friend of Gunnar G:son Wennerberg. The duo developed several designs together in the 1890s. Some of their designs attracted the attention of ironmaster Odelberg. They also exhibited at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900.