Temper’s zodiac art vies with Rubens
London’s Banqueting House in Whitehall, renowned for its paintings by Rubens, played host to a slightly different kind of art in a showcase of work by Wolverhampton-born graffiti artist Temper.
Temper, whose real name is Arron Bird, already has influential admirers in the capital. He was commissioned by Roman Abramovich to produce artwork for the players’ lounge at Chelsea FC and he has also completed a mural for Saatchi & Saatchi.
Four hundred guests turned up to see Temper’s Post Graphaelite collection of 12 canvases depicting the signs of the zodiac, which were suspended beneath the Rubens ceiling. Margaret Darling, wife of the Chancellor, popped in and invited the artist for breakfast at No.11.
It was a far cry from the Eastfield Youth Club in Wolverhampton, which gave Temper his first commission in 1992. The self-taught artist received little encouragement at school and his frustrations helped earn him his nickname.
Said to be the first graffiti artist who worked on canvas, his big break came in 2001 when he was commissioned by Coca Cola. His art decorated 100million cans and bottles of Sprite worldwide, raising his profile. At the same time his exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery was claimed to be the first for a graffiti artist in a public gallery.