Following a year that will be remembered for great loss, internationally renowned artist Temper returns for 2017 with a collection that celebrates cultural icons loved and lost. From Bob Marley to Pablo Picasso, the Timeless works capture the essence of these much missed personalities through an intricate use of spray paint. dluxe Magazine caught up with the artist at his recent exhibition at Castle Fine Art at The Mailbox.
Tell me a little about yourself… where are you from, where did you grow up… what was your childhood like?
I’m from Wolverhampton Eastside, and I grew up around the Deansfield area. My childhood was colourful, all the more so
when I discovered graffiti.
Did you have any lifechanging experiences that put you on the path that led you to be doing what you’re doing today?
I chose to pursue art as a career full time in 1993 when I found out I was going to be a father. It was a ‘now or never’ moment for me, I didn’t want to look back in the years to come and feel like I hadn’t given it my best shot. Aside from the birth of my children, realising my artistic potential has been the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done. I’ve been so fortunate in always having the support of my partner Kerry.
What inspires you?
Fear is my greatest driver. Fear of failure, fear of not achieving recognition for the art I want to create. Fear keeps me working to a standard I can take pride in. I put myself under a great deal of pressure as a result, but I do believe that “out of darkness comes light” so maybe I need that fear, what may be perceived as a weakness is my greatest asset.
Do you have any creative patterns, routines or rituals?
I think of myself as having a series of tools in my creative bag. As ideas come to me, my brain will search out the tools it needs to bring the concept to life, or it will develop new tools to make that possible. My thought processes are very complex. I don’t process the world around me in quite the same way as other people. I no longer do this, but for ages I used to light and incense stick, each time in remembrance of my granddad, to give thanks for his life and to help me clear my mind. He was a huge support and source of inspiration for me; life felt normal when he was around.
What’s next? What plans do you have to develop your art in the future?
There’s too much to talk about here, you’ll have to watch this space! What I will say is that the next year will involve a lot of ambition, a lot of experimentation and a lot of bravery. It’s an interesting time to be Temper!
You’re a ‘local lad’ what are some of your favourite restaurants/ bars in the West Midlands?
I really enjoy Italian food, so Cielo in Brindleyplace and Jamie’s Italian in the Bullring are always top of my list. Even my
favourite local restaurant in Wolverhampton, The Island House, was founded by a Sicilian family, although it serves great British classics.
Graffiti holds special significance as one of the elements of hip hop culture and your previous collections have featured hip hop legends Tupac & Biggie. Are you a fan of hip hop?
Graffiti is the first element of hip hop culture. I’ve been involved since it first emerged in Wolverhampton and I still refer to myself as a graffiti artist, as well as a conceptual artist. I don’t do hip hop, I am hip hop; I live and breathe it.
You’ve mentioned in the past you have many books on the industrialist Matthew Boulton. What else do you like
I don’t really read books, but I do manage to absorb information gathered from multiple sources. My particular areas of interest are: history, science, astrology, astronomy, ornithology, the animal kingdom, physics and culture.
What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
Believe in what you do. You’ve got to be sincere, and that sincerity needs to translate onto canvas. There’s more to being an artist than just applying paint.
Check out the exhibition at www.castlefineart.com
Follow Temper on Twitter.