Given, 2002

by Temper


DIMENSIONS: 72 x 60 inches (182.9 x 152.4 cm)
MEDIUM: Spray paint on canvas


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    Catalogue No: 6666 Categories: , Tags: , ,

    During the 1980s, just as the hip-hop culture was making its way from the US to the UK shores, Temper became involved with several graffiti crews. He developed his own unique style, which allows him create illustrative and freehand art as well as photorealist figurative work reminiscent of the Old Masters.

    Critically acclaimed by his peers, he became the first-ever graffiti artist to be awarded a solo show in a major public gallery (Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, 2001). Today he takes inspiration from street art, popular culture, comic books and music. Incredibly, paint leaves his aerosol can at up to 130mph!

    Temper says: “Album covers were like an art gallery to me as a child. They had a magic about them that would transport me to another place; it provided me with a playground for my creativity.”

    Private collection, United Kingdom

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    Temper, aka Arron Bird, is widely recognized as one of the most successful and talented graffiti artists of his generation.


    The son of a council worker, Temper had his first interaction with graffiti in 1981 at the age of 11, having been introduced to fellow graffiti artist, Goldie in Wolverhampton. Less than six months down the line Temper was creating his own street murals (his debut composition aptly titled (‘Street Level’), heavily influenced by hip hop culture, his aerosol skills were evident from the get-go.


    Seeing subway and derelict factory walls as blank canvases, and nearly always as an illegal practice. Naturally this was a challenge and one that was always going to be a difficult call as back then graffiti artists weren’t recognized as anything other than vandals in the local community.


    In 1991 Temper had the opportunity to work with now legendary music artist Goldie on a commission piece for sports-brand Nike, opening his eyes to the corporate market for the first.


    By the turn of the millennium, twenty years of struggle, dedication, hard work, some successes contrasted with some desperate times and family turbulence all culminated in what many terms the artists’ big break.


    That big break came in 2001 when he was chosen to produce the design to go on 100 million Sprite cans, the drinks company owned by Coca Cola. Suddenly his tag was seen across Europe in the biggest graffiti advertising campaign to date. According to sources it was without question the most successful designer can Coca-Cola has promoted in the UK. This four-month campaign saw all cans carrying Temper’s tag and were released in conjunction with the Sprite Urban Games; a pan-European street lifestyle and sports concept that was being run out at the time.


    Among some of his groundbreaking exhibitions are “Minuteman” 2001 which was the first by a solo graffiti artist to be held in a public art gallery, held at Birmingham Museum that broke their attendance records in the process, with the exhibition seeing 38,000 visitors within four weeks.

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