Born in Croydon in 1953, Panter graduated with a degree in Fine Art from Coventry’s ‘Lanchester Polytechnic’ in 1975. It was there that he met Jerry Dammers and, together with Lynval Golding, they formed The Specials. Although better known as a musician, Horace has always kept up with his art practice, gradually moving away from the ethos of ‘art language’ to return to painting, influenced by the artists he had first encountered as a child of the 60s: Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Edward Hopper and Peter Blake. He says “ It was art I could relate to, alongside my other predilection for the 12” vinyl record ... for an impressionable youth this collision of art and music was magical!”
The Pop Art concept of elevating the mundane has had a strong influence on his work; the talisman-like qualities afforded to everyday objects continue to guide his subject matter, especially the CASSETTE series. Panter says the original Pop Art explosion “was akin to what Punk Rock was for the music industry ... it shook things up, turned art on its head”; these cassettes are an updated take on what is now a traditional art form.
“The studio demo contained the bare bones of a song before it was finished/edited/mixed... crucial tool for musicians to hear how they sounded.” The cassette itself turned out to be ephemeral but, together with the Sony Walkman, it was revolutionary: “For the very first time, music was portable and individual; making mixtapes was just so liberating in terms of choosing what to listen to... I still don’t get Spotify!”
American comedian, Fred Armisen, owns the orignal GHOST TOWN cassette painting: “When I saw the images of the paintings, they were better than I could ever imagine... beautiful and straight to the point... there’s no begging in them”. (Fred Armisen 2016).