Losing one's Temper is never an option for the returning B-Boys

B-Boys get involved in Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti

The B-Boys are rolling with it on Definitely Maybe

First published in Lifestyle

IF I ever could afford to buy a graffiti reworking of a classic album cover it is fair to say I'd never lose my Temper, writes Steve Zacharanda.

The Wolverhampton born artist is the real thing and paintings from his comeback collection Cover Versions are being snapped up faster than a Take That tax return.

The Mayfair and Birmingham Cover Versions collection launches were wildly popular and have propelled the blue-eyed boss man back into art's stratosphere.

Temper's talent was forged in the 80s hip hop scene on the streets of Heathtown and spray cans have been an extension of his hands for 33 years. He has an edge because he is from the streets. The kind of places where the people who buy his originals only see when they look out of an aeroplane window.

Contrast Temper, or MadTempa as he started out, to everyone's right on darling Banksy, who is a public school boy born with a silver spray can round his neck. Now, I'm not knocking Banksy, he is the greatest stenciller the world has ever seen. And with his education his business brain is second to none too, he rarely makes mistakes. Like a business, man.

His political messages are brilliant, he is a credit to Britain, it is, just, err well, graffiti should be from the streets.

It is about kids practising designs in their exercise books as they block the teacher's voice out and then tagging bus stops on the way home, before venturing out at night to brighten up a piece of concrete in an area no-one cares about.

(For full disclosure I was DAX circa 1990 in Perry Barr, sorry about that, but then again I never graduated to spray cans from markers as I was rather rubbish)

Graffiti, rapping and breakdancing are three holy pillars of hip hop, and sadly with Banksy so prevalent in UK graffiti folklore it means the rich kids, with all the breaks in life, have infected the top echelons of two of the three.

The music charts reliance on stage school types mean the blue bloods are rapping until their trust fund's content.

Thank Jah posh kids can't dance. But the brilliance of Temper is how he has taken graffiti on to another level, anyone who saw his A New Day and Pre-Graphaelite collections close up will have been blown away by the beauty created from a humble spray can.

Like, all the greats, Temper is an enigma. He comes and goes like a British summer's day, impossible to timetable but a perfect surprise when he arrives.

(Full disclosure two: I class Temper as a friend but that is down to his human attributes and not his colouring in skills)

Temper's collaboration with art doyens Washington Green is great for fans of the great man, and for British art.

The game needs Temper, even if he has a tantrum every day Cover Versions is a great comeback, in any artistic discipline covering a great is fraught with danger, but the Cover Versions collection is at triumph of design.

He has switched to oils now, which artistically is the equivalent of Wayne Rooney mastering basketball and makes the future scope of his work even more tantalising.

His own cast of characters, the B-Boys, which replace the human form on the sleeves have an other worldliness which imbue every album cover he has tackled with new life.

Whether it be Oasis -Definitely Maybe, Beatles - Abbey Road, Chemical Brothers - Exit Planet Dust or my favourite Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti.

If you are anywhere near Birmingham pop into Castle Galleries (www.castlegalleries.com/news/coverversions-by-temper) at the ICC and take a look for yourself.

And if you miss the chance then don't blame me if you cannot control your Temper.

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