Temper (b.1971), Wolverhampton
Temper, aka Arron Bird, is widely recognised as one of the most successful and talented
graffiti artists of his generation.
Enjoying his art classes at school but struggling to make his ideas understood, Arron stumbled across graffiti in his home-town of Wolverhampton and was instantly intrigued.
Already beginning to explore the burgeoning USA-born hip-hop scene that had started to
infiltrate popular culture around that time, it seemed like a natural path for a child who
wasn’t stereotypically academic, but was incredibly creative.
Arron sprayed his first piece, ‘Street Level’ in 1982 which seemingly represented his perception of his place in society. Over the years, he honed his skill and mastered graffiti in a way that very few of his peers were able to.
Over the next twenty years, Arron Bird evolved into Temper the graffiti artist and continued to spray across the Midlands and further afield; thoroughly wedded to the wider culture, Temper was involved with a number of underground graffiti and B-boy crews in and around his home town, over the years he would regularly spray album covers for MC and DJ artists involved in the same scene, as well as launching his own clothing label (Blind Mice Clothing) which was rapidly adopted as the brand of choice for a number of underground skating, Bboy
and hip-hop communities around the world.
Painting on and off walls over the years, in 1991 Temper got the opportunity to work with
Goldie on a commission piece for sports-brand Nike, which opened the artist’s eyes to the corporate market for the first time. Temper’s career gathered pace, he secured more and more commissions, was involved in creating Britain’s longest ever graffiti production (1996), painted publicly for the first time at Banksy’s graffiti festival ‘Walls of Fire’ (1998) and
importantly presented two sell-out solo exhibitions, ‘Footsteps’ in 1997 and ‘Visual Eyez’ in 1999.
By the turn of the millennium, twenty years of struggle, dedication, hard work, some
successes contrasted with some desperate times and family turbulence (including the loss of his granddad in 1994) all culminated in what many term the artists’ big break; in 2001 Temper became the first graffiti artist to ever be awarded a solo show in a major public gallery, opening ‘Minuteman’ at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Quickly followed by a major commission of artwork from Coca Cola who went on to use Temper’s B-boy character on over 100 million Sprite cans and bottles across Europe.
The ten years that followed saw Temper’s popularity soar, garnering significant attention from major brands, new fans, committed collectors and art connoisseurs as well as taking the genre of graffiti art to unimaginable heights, inspiring a new generation of UK street artists.
After a number of infamous sell-out collections, Temper returns with cover:versions, thirty
three years after he first picked up a spray can