Mystery graffiti artist Horace – Worthing’s answer to Banksy – reveals details about himself

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Worthing’s answer to Banksy, whose artworks around Worthing have proven a big hit, has revealed some of the tricks of his trade.

You will no doubt have seen his art in and around Worthing.

Graffiti artist Horace painting the mural of Kenny Tutt in Warwick Street, Worthing

Graffiti artist Horace painting the mural of Kenny Tutt in Warwick Street, Worthing

But the man behind murals that have become somewhat of a phenomenon in our town remains clouded in mystery.

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Graffiti artist Horace painting the mural of Simon Mayo in Worthing

Graffiti artist Horace painting the mural of Simon Mayo in Worthing

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Known only as Horace, the artist first grabbed the public’s attention in March, with his inaugural graffiti project that depicted 11 famous faces associated with or born in Worthing.

It did not take long before he was likened to Banksy, the leader in his field – a comparison Horace said he was flattered by.

“Obviously I’m very happy with that; the man is a genius and an absolute legend,” he told the Herald.

Similarly to his idol, his identity is a closely-guarded secret – one he was adamant he would not reveal.

“It gives me more freedom and more options as a street artist,” he said.

When asked if his friends and family knew he was Horace, he said: “Obviously, it is difficult to keep anything...” before trailing off and giving the first of several ‘no comments’ during the interview.

There were glimpses of the man behind the spray mask however.

A portrait artist before deciding to try graffiti – ‘the only exciting form of art left’ he said – he named himself Horace after eccentric town icon Horace Duke, who also got his own mural. So why Worthing?

“This is my home town, or at least the place I call home, anyway,” he said. “Worthing has a rich history of creative talent, but it isn’t really known for it.

“I thought this would be a good thing for the town.”

Another ‘no comment’ came when asked if he did the work alone or with help. “That would be telling,” he added.

But the enigmatic figure revealed that painting each piece only took around five minutes if they went to plan; the hard work was designing the image and making the stencils beforehand.

One mural that went wrong was of Game of Thrones actress Gwendoline Christie, who was born near Worthing.

Due to the design of her cloak, the stencil was ‘quite flimsy’, making it hard to keep in position, he said. But now when he walked past it in Selden Road, he said it made him smile.

Chairman of The Worthing Society Susan Belton felt differently, saying elderly residents thought it ‘had connotations of a lady of the night’ at a planning meeting to decide the future of two of Horace’s murals which were on listed buildings.

Councillors voted to preserve the murals of Dave Benson Phillips on the New Amsterdam pub, and Masterchef winner Kenny Tutt in Warwick Street.

But in keeping with his anarchic style, Horace has since painted over the mural of the CBBC presenter anyway as part of an urban art exhibition which ran throughout June at the nearby Yard Gallery in Little High Street.

The popular mural of Oscar Wilde on the side of the Corner House pub was similarly replaced with a colourful seagull to mark Pride month.

Horace explained that his art was never meant to be permanent anyway – which is why he was able to persuade business owners to let him use their walls as a canvas.

He said: “At the end of the day it is a bit of paint. If they don’t like it, they can paint over it in five minutes.”

Horace said he had plans for two more murals at most, before extending the project to other towns and incorporating other media into his work. But for now, Horace’s art remains a very Worthing phenomenon.