In the course of our lives there are indeed a plethora of different methods for us to chronicle our time; mine is by which pair of shoes or boots I bought when. Some of my best memories come from the weathered pair of Dr. Martens that I’d purchased during my second year in University. Needless to say, like Horace I’ve been wearing Dr. Martens for a good portion of my life and would not give them up now for anything. When I listen or gaze upon Horace’s immense body of work, I feel as though I must smile from ear-to-ear. Not only because he is a tremendously talented Artist but because the presence of Horace’s eclectic essence is secured within each one of his eloquent pieces. I must admit, I also relish the fact that he is open to attempting various art mediums that he might not be trained in or accustomed to.
In my opinion, being open to the context of art enhances the artists palette regardless of what it may be. I feel extremely fortunate right now to be able to share my interview with UK based Artist Horace Panter. I would like to also extend my gratitude to his wife Clare, who so kindly furnished this interview with such optic-pleasing exquisite photographs.
Rania: What is your first artistic/musical memory?
Horace: The cover of ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ and an illustrated book of the movie ‘Yellow Submarine’, both connected with Peter Blake and the UK Pop Art movement.
Rania: I relish the concept behind The Art of the Mixtape Exhibition currently on display at The Proud Archivist because it relates to memories. What was the first mixed-tape play list that you recorded on to a cassette and do you still have it?
Horace: It’s a compilation I recorded in the early 80s. I called it ‘Grooveyard Ghosts’. It had an inlay made from a Robyn Denny card I bought at The Tate. I still have it. Fantastic.
Horace: I’m very taken by the Pop Art mantra. The pendants refer to Keith Haring, Takashi Murakami and Peter Blake. They all have ‘other stuff’ that you can buy. In the music business, it’s called ‘merchandise’. The cassette pendants are miniature copies of my supersized cassette paintings, produced in collaboration with Lady Muck, contemporary jeweller.
Rania: When I saw your work transferred on to a pair of Dr. Martens I wanted to genuinely salivate; they are GORGEOUS! What was the biggest challenge with bringing these wearable works of art to fruition?
Horace: A most enjoyable collaboration to produce a pair of boots primarily for the current London exhibition ‘Art of the Mixtape’ at London’s ‘The Proud Archivist’ gallery. There are 3 pairs in existence; my son has one, I have another and the third is being raffled with all proceeds going to The Joe Strummer Foundation. I have worn Dr Martens boots for the past 40-odd years and I’m not going to stop now!
Rania: Out of all your paintings which one was your favourite to create and why?
Horace: Difficult. Some paintings represent paradigmatic shifts in my work. My first Blues paintings, ‘Fruit Girl at the Beach #2’ and ‘Hot Dog Stick’ from the Americana series. I’m always pushing forward. If the painting I’m currently working on isn’t the best painting I’ve ever done, I tend to discard it.
Rania: How do you feel about our modern age going almost completely digital when it comes to music? Do you feel we as a society have lost any of the tactile experience with regards to touching physical music vessels as opposed to pressing a button on a device?
Horace: I am not 18. People of that age relate to music differently than when I was a teenager. It would be churlish to say that I appreciated music better than today’s 18 year olds. It’s just different, that’s all.
Rania: With all the experience that you’ve gained regarding your art and music; what do you feel would be the best advice for an emerging artist?
Horace: Paint/play what you want to, not what you are ‘advised’ to.
Rania: Having worked in the music industry for decades now, what you do feel are some of the biggest struggles independent artists face in our contemporary world?
Horace: Because of the changes in how music is distributed and how it is listened to, getting any financial return is now very difficult. It was a struggle back in 1979 unless you had a record deal. Now it seems 10 times harder. I would not like to be an aspiring musician in 2015 yet good bands still break through. Don’t give up!
Rania: If you knew then what you know now about how your life would have turned out, what would you have told your younger self through moments of self-doubt?
Horace: Sell yourself and your talents a lot more.
Rania: Your biography states that you were heavily influenced by the art of Peter Blake, Andy Warhol and Kurt Schwitters. What is it in specific about these 3 artists that inspire to create?
Horace: Peter Blake; for his draughtsmanship and his use of colour, Andy Warhol; for his attitude and his Pop Art mantra of ‘elevating the mundane’ and Kurt Schwitters; for his inclusion of ANYTHING in his collages.
Rania: How do you feel the role social media plays with regards to art promotion?
Horace: It has enabled me to get my art in front of a lot more people. I’m aware that an image is important. I’m also aware that my image is too – that’s come from my experience in the music business.
Rania: Is there an art medium that you have not yet attempted that you would like to? If yes, what is it?
Horace: I would like to move into areas of collage. I’ve had a few goes and it is VERY difficult.
Horace: Play music. It is so liberating.
Rania: If you had a super power what would it be?
Horace: Ha Ha! Time travel! To go back and inhabit my 15 year old self would be incredible, but I’d be kicked out of school after a week!