Horace talks to Louise Jury, Chief Arts Correspondent about returning to his artistic roots with a debut exhibition of his paintings
He met Jerry Dammers at art college and abandoned painting for a career with Eighties ska band The Specials.
But now Horace Panter is finally returning to those artistic roots with a debut exhibition of his paintings – 36 years after he graduated in fine art from Coventry’s Lanchester Polytechnic.
The Croydon-born musician, now 58, who played bass on hits such as Ghost Town, said that when he was young “if you wanted to be in a successful group, you went to art school”.
But he never lost his love of art. He and Dammers created the graphics for their 2 Tone record label and Panter would visit international art galleries when on tour. Yet it was only when The Specials first split up in 1982 that Panter began to concentrate on his art.
“It’s something I have kept to myself, slowly establishing a large body of work. But then rather than having them take up my attic, I thought, let’s do something with them.
“It’s like with music. You record it and then you think, OK, people ought to hear this.” He admitted he was nervous. “I’m used to being a supporting musician so this is like my solo album,” he said.
He joins a long list of musicians turned artists including Ronnie Wood and Bob Dylan. Robots, Saints and (Extra) Ordinary People is at the Strand Gallery until December 3.
Louise Jury, Chief Arts Correspondent