Temper’s latest collection honours personalities we have lost over the years, some recent, some not. All painted with precision in a monochromatic style; these pieces are not only a homage to these well-known characters but also to Temper’s technique and heritage. The collection of fifteen original spray-painted pieces marks the fifteen years that have passed since his collection ‘The Good Die Young’: one that shaped his career in a way he didn’t expect.
The collection stems from Temper’s own existentialism, having lost members of his family and seeing the great losses of the last couple of years and the impact it has had.
Temper has been a pioneer of the graffiti scene with his roots in Heath Town, Wolverhampton and his involvement with the B-Boy, graff scene that flourished in the eighties, most notably in Wolverhampton and Bristol. His friends and influencers include Goldie, Banksy and 3D from Massive Attack and he is most notorious for bringing this previously underground subculture to the attention of big brands such as Coca Cola (with his B-Boy characters adorning cans of Sprite). Temper says he was always conscious of protecting the culture whilst advancing it in the corporate world. Despite this market shift he has kept his style rooted in traditional graffiti rather than being associated with street art – a term he rejects due to the fact he won’t use stencils or templates. The work is just him, the can and some unique skill – each piece is sprayed freehand using conventional nozzles and no tricks.
Temper’s rise to the scene was almost accidental, at home he was discouraged from drawing but his granddad would ask him to draw on cigarette packets, often asking for figures such as Hitler and Mussolini. His attention to detail developed over the years, he sees everything in shapes, dissected and broken down. Checking out his Instagram page, I spotted a piece titled ‘Milieu’ or ‘The Growing Sketch’ as he also calls it. The behemoth drawing is 11ft in diameter and has become a piece to get lost in, the more you look at it the more you see. It’s an autonomous collection of ideas that flow into one another, creating a Da Vinci style tableau. The piece is unfortunately not at the Mailbox show as it’s a gargantuan work in progress, but keep an eye on his social media for updates.
It’s good to see works that cross these two worlds successfully and whilst there are those who will say graffiti doesn’t belong on fine art walls, Temper prides himself on making the medium more accessible and inclusive, paving the way for the growth of the scene. It has also given him the opportunity to donate to local charities and work with communities in the West Midlands that originally gave him a platform. Most recently, he created two painted owls for Birmingham Children’s Hospital and The Big Hoot, both of which sold at auction in 2015. Re-Tail selling for £18,000 on behalf of the children’s hospital while G’owl’d fetched £15,000 for the Edward’s Trust.
You can view the works from the Timeless collection and meet the man himself on Saturday 11th February from 1-4pm at Castle Fine Art in the Mailbox, or pop along to the gallery from Saturday to see the work on display until February 26th.