If I said the name Horace Panter you would probably think of The Specials, at least if you have a decent taste in music and you’re of a certain age! As Sir Horace Gentleman, he was (and still is) the bassist for one of the most iconic bands of the ’80s, spearheading the 2-Tone movement. What you may not know is that Horace and Jerry Dammers met at Art School… where they were both studying Fine Art.
Today, Horace is very much a painter as well as a musician. He paints in a very Pop Art style… following the mantra of ‘elevating the mundane’, taking a fresh look at the familiar, encouraging the viewer to see ‘everyday’ objects/people with new eyes. I can see influences of British Pop Art’s leading figures, Peter Blake, and also of one of his pupils… Ian Dury (also an accomplished artist) in his work.
Horace’s paintings are often inspired by random events and people. One such painting, ‘The Scooterist’ resulted from a chance meeting with a posse of scooterists outside Coventry’s Transport Museum. © Copyright Horace Panter Art 2014
Horace was asked by local filmmaker, Richard Wood, to participate in promoting a charity event to raise funds for Clare House Hospice in Liverpool. This involved the car, HERBIE (from the eponymous film) being driven from Liverpool to Monte Carlo and Horace joined Lady Godiva (Pru Poretta) on its journey from The Ricoh Arena to the Transport Museum. This short journey was accompanied by a whole raft of vintage VW’s and an honour guard of local scooterists.
It is generally true that scooterists are fans of The Specials so while they were all busy snapping photographs of Horace, he decided to reciprocate and turned his camera on them. Sifting through his photographs later, he turned his attention to the remarkable detail on the scooters and decided to paint one with its rider on board in his typical icongraphic style. He says: ‘There were some amazing scooters … really detailed. All that stuff about pride in appearance, everything just right in terms of both scooter and scooterist, I love it.’
Horace didn’t know who the rider was so he put out a call on Facebook and Twitter to ask if anyone could identify the mystery scooterist. Within minutes, responses started to come in and they weren’t all the same! However, half a dozen people pointed to Carl Barlow from the Low Numbers Scooter Club in Leamington Spa.
It was definitely him, as other photos testified. Horace then contacted Carl by sending him a message on Facebook but by then Carl had had dozens of texts and emails from his friends to tell him that Horace had painted his portrait. Happily, mystery solved. Carl says ‘Over the moon that Horace has chosen to do the pic of me; it’s a real honour! I’m thrilled that he will be letting me have a print. It’s a wonderful painting … not just because I’m in it!’ I’m with Carl on that. There is a real ‘iconic’ feel to the work.
The original painting has been sold. There is a limited edition of 35 prints (40 x 23 cm) available from the galleries listed on Horace’s website: HoracePanterArt, where you can check out his other work, including his series of ‘Cassette’ paintings. You can also check out his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter.
A big thank you to Clare in helping me put this post together.