Temper | Timeless


The Good Die Young was born from the loss of eight members of his close family during a period of mere months, exacerbated by the death of his beloved grandfather, who used to encourage the artist to draw and sketch in his early years, often on discarded cigarette packets.Whilst his career has gone from strength to strength, earning him collaborations with some of the world’s biggest corporations, commissions from the rich and famous, and acknowledged relationships with icons such as Banksy,Temper’s successes belie the trauma that he has weathered behind the scenes. It’s important to remember. It’s natural to mourn. Having the gift to combine those keystones of humanity into the poignant and evocative collection we see in Timeless is nothing short of gifted. From the depths of loss and adversity, he channelled personal bereavement into a collection of work to which everyone could relate, by marking the passing of cultural icons who touched generations. Lost for the words to exorcise his grief, he painted through the pain and now supports a charitable trust that uses art therapy to help children process and recover from bereavement, recognising that, for him, The Good Die Young was exactly that. Never could he have foreseen that it would later be picked up by a commercial art gallery and achieve global reach, both because it pioneered a new concept of fine art and because the raw emotion within the compositions was universally relatable. As he says:“ It changed everything. ” Proud of his roots, he is quick to credit the city of Wolverhampton’s motto “ Out of darkness cometh light ” – a phrase that he has tattooed on his arm – as one that he carries within him to this day as a mantra. Whilst celebrity portraiture is now a firm fixture on many artists’ CVs, the concept of amalgamating fine art and graffiti in a body of commemorative work had never been seen before The Good Die Young . All the more credible for its authenticity, unabashed sincerity and lack of contrivance, it was the most natural way for Temper to heal himself and bring some purpose back into his days.The choice of subjects holds true to his cultural influences and evidences his lack of commercial intent when creating the collection.Whilst some were more popular figures, at the time no one would have thought to include the likes of Kurt Cobain, Biggie Smalls and Brandon Lee.

Each public figure he chose holds a link to one of the family members he lost; be it their complexion, a family dynamic or the circumstances of their passing.Temper feels there is much significance in his Gandhi work from The Good Die Young gaining the lion’s share of feedback. He believes its success lies within its title:“When Peace Makes You Smile”, that line conveying hope to all for better times to come. Viewing The Good Die Young against Timeless , the progression is notable. The Good Die Young leaves the viewer with the first raw feelings of grief, where the hurt is palpable and there is a physical reaction to every memory of the loved one lost. Timeless is more of a celebration; it’s looking back and remembering the good; it’s realising how much you are left with instead of what you have lost. Temper will always say that “ As an artist, I prefer to see a painting that captures the soul of the subject, rather than something that’s just picture perfect .” For him, it’s not about what you see when viewing artwork, rather it’s the feeling that the artwork evokes.The keen eye may also remark that these pieces have been worked on a smaller scale than their predecessors, which is testament toTemper’s growth within his chosen medium. His ability to achieve detail and precision using spray paint, that leaves the aerosol can at circa 130mph, is remarkable. In short, the smaller the scale of the canvas, the less margin for error and the greater the talent required in the world of graffiti art.The ultimate taskmaster,Temper insists that “ You need these challenges to keep evolving as an artist ”. In his relentless pursuit of excellence, and through working with the restoration team at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery,Temper has also honed his method of applying paint in such a way that guarantees longevity for the canvas. Another victory for Temper against Father Time. Whilst Timeless may well be the final chapter in this concept, it serves as a sensitive homage to The Good Die Young , and shows Temper in an epoch of change and evolution, no more a bystander in his own life but the master of it. Age, experience and hindsight have gifted him with a sense of acceptance that is driving fresh creative output and heralds the dawn of a new age in his career. For this drive, he has another city motto to cite, this one for Birmingham which is simply “Forward”, and we in turn look forward to being taken along on that journey.


Fifteen years ago,Temper first released his ground-breaking collection The Good DieYoung to the art world, generating unprecedented acclaim for ar twork that touched the heart of all who viewed it. Fifteen years later,Temper, in collaboration withWashington Green, has marked this anniversary by making available a fur ther fifteen original ar tworks that continue the concept of commemorative por traiture to celebrate the lives of people taken too soon.

Gregagh’s Boy Original Spray Paint on Canvas | 152.5cm x 101.5cm

Pablo Original Spray Paint on Canvas | 152.5cm x 101.5cm

Win Original Spray Paint on Canvas | 152cm x 102cm

Southern Gates To Heaven Original Spray Paint on Canvas | 112cm x 142cm

Peace Original Spray Paint on Canvas | 152.5cm x 101.5cm

Classic Original Spray Paint on Canvas | 142cm x 112cm

Stand Up For Richard Original Spray Paint on Canvas | 152.5cm x 102cm

Che Original Spray Paint on Canvas | 112cm x 142cm

A Red Tricycle Original Spray Paint on Canvas | 142cm x 112cm

A Blackstar Shining Original Spray Paint on Canvas | 142.5cm x 112cm

Frank’s Smile Original Spray Paint on Canvas | 142cm x 122cm

Nine Miles Original Spray Paint on Canvas | 112cm x 142cm

Mo Ambition Original Spray Paint on Canvas | 153cm x 101cm

Wild Genius Original Spray Paint on Canvas | 153cm x 101cm

Gemini Mist Original Spray Paint on Canvas | 152.5cm x 101.5cm


Temper (b. 1971),Wolverhampton Temper, aka Arron Bird, is widely recognised as one of the most successful and talented graffiti artists of his generation. He picked up a spray can at the age of 10 and hasn’t looked back since, quickly mastering the art; he was involved with a number of graffiti art crews across the 80s just as the hip-hop culture that accompanied it was making its way from the US to UK shores. Temper has excelled in his genre, developing a unique style of graffiti art which allows him to work in illustrative and free-hand ‘traditional’ graffiti, as well as detailed and exquisite figurative work reminiscent of the Old Masters and breathtaking photorealist landscapes. Temper has not only been critically acclaimed by his peers in the art world, becoming the first graffiti artist ever to be awarded a solo show in a major public gallery (Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery,

2001), but also from fans and collectors of his creations, delivering private commissions for Roman Abramovich, Saatchi & Saatchi and the BBC to name but a few. In 2001 Temper was commissioned by global brand Coca-Cola to create the artwork for their drinks brand Sprite, resulting in art by Temper appearing on over 100 million cans and bottles around the UK and Europe in what was the biggest graffiti advertising campaign ever seen. Temper, the artist, grew from the hip-hop and graffiti art culture which predominated during his formative years. Nowadays he continues to take inspiration from street art, popular culture, comic book art and music, as well as being heavily interested in symbolism and influenced by philosophy, astrology and icons of our time as well as the cult of celebrity. But, most importantly, he is inspired by his own experiences, ups and downs, his own journey continuing to inform his art and ideas.


1981 A 10 year old Arron is at the forefront of the emerging graffiti art scene on the streets of Wolverhampton as he begins to be influenced and inspired by the hip-hop culture reaching the UK shores 1982 Arron sprays his first mural, ‘ Street Level ’ 1988 Arron received his first commission, a piece for EastfieldYouth Club who had been an important part of his youth growing up in Wolverhampton 1991 After almost a decade of honing his craft with a number of street art crews, Arron, and a fellow artist Redé, joined Goldie to work on a piece of graffiti art for Nike 1994 Arron, now known as Madtempa, launches Blind Mice Clothing, selling shirts featuring his unique graffiti art, and sees huge success as his clothing is adopted by underground skateboarding and hip hop communities worldwide 1996 Madtempa is instrumental in creating Britain’s longest ever graffiti production in Leicester 1997 Having now shortened his tag toTempa, he opens his first solo exhibition, ‘ Footsteps ’ inWolverhampton and sees visitor figures of over 3,000 people Designs t-shirt for major US skate brand, Airwalk, which sells 10,000 units in four weeks in the UK and continues to sell for the next six years

1998 Tempa becomes Temper; an evolution marked by a headline appearance at a Bristol graffiti festival ‘ Walls on Fire ’ organised by Banksy 1999 Temper’s second solo exhibition, ‘ Visual Eyez ’ at Lighthouse Gallery,Wolverhampton sees attendance of over 6,000 people and sells out within two weeks 2001 Temper is commissioned by global brand Coca-Cola to create the artwork for their drinks brand Sprite, resulting in art by Temper on over 100 million cans and bottles around the UK and Europe When exhibition ‘ Minuteman ’ opens at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery,Temper becomes the first graffiti artist ever to be awarded a solo show in a major public gallery space and breaks all attendance records, seeing 38,000 visitors within four weeks 2002 Launch of critically acclaimed collection ‘ The Good Die Young ’, spray-painted portraits of icons in black and white. This new method revolutionised portraiture, inspiring a generation of artists and galleries to create similar works Launch of new collection ‘ Decade ’ 2003 Launch of ‘ Popcorn ’ collection. Produced using a pioneering technique where each painting was created using the reapplication of a stencil 28,000 times, making an image out of the word ‘Temper’

2004 Launch of ‘ Too Good To Die Young ’ Private commissions for Saatchi & Saatchi Private commission for Coca-Cola Private commission for Bench clothing Private commission for SHS Group Drinks Private commission for BBC

2011 Unveiling of ‘ The Lovely People ’,Temper’s public art installation at Birmingham’s The Cube 2014 ‘ cover:versions’ opens at Castle Fine Art, Bruton Street in the heart of Mayfair 2015 Temper’s contribution toThe Big Hoot entitled ‘ Re-Tail’ generated the highest winning bid at auction, raising £18,000 for the Birmingham Children’s Hospital. 2016 Temper continued his charitable work by creating ‘ Heard Sheffield? ’ as part of the Herd of Sheffield which raises funds for The Children’s Hospital Charity. He also supported St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice through his involvement with the Great North Snowdogs campaign, which took pride of place in St James Park. This year also saw the conception of Milieu , a growing sketch that sees Temper explore a new style of artistic interpretation. Music also featured once again in Temper’s output, having been commissioned by American rapper and music producer Masta Ace to design the cover artwork for his fifth solo studio album The Falling Season.

2005 Launch of collection ‘ Move ’ that used an innovative technique that captured the realism of movement in free-hand spray paint 2007 First graffiti artist to be awarded a commission for a major piece of public art to be displayed at iconic Birmingham building,The Cube Private commission for Roman Abramovich and Chelsea Football Club Launch of collection ‘ A New Day’ which sold out within four minutes of the show opening 2008 ‘ Post Graphaelite ’ is exhibited at Whitehall Palace in London 2009 Received the High Sheriff Award for Contribution to Art and the Community 2010 Designed souvenir front cover for the Birmingham Post to celebrate the anniversary edition, the first time ever that art has replaced news on the front page of a newspaper in the UK Held open air exhibition, ‘ Cut from a Different Cloth ’ for Style Birmingham at the Birmingham Bullring Private commission for Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne

The images contained within this literature are an artistic representation of the collection. To best experience our art, we recommend you contact your local gallery to arrange a viewing. © Washington Green 2017. The content of this brochure is subject to copyright and no part can be reproduced without prior permission.

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