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Best Visual Artist 

Jose Ray

Jose Ray is one of those local faces you see everywhere, and one you're always glad to see.

From his energetic visual artwork, performed with gusto during just about every Art Rise Savannah event, to his tasty vinyl spinning as a well-known local DJ, Ray already had a great claim to being maybe Savannah’s most notable Jack of All Trades.

He has added yet another color to his palette, however, in his new role as children’s book author and illustrator.

Under the pen name Jose Lucio, he has created the delightful Heave Ho!, the story of a bird and a worm and some friends.

“It’s about teamwork and outside the box thinking,” Ray/Lucio told us right before his appearance at the most recent Savannah Book Festival as a featured author.

“The worm gets caught by the bird, but luckily has a friend to help pull him back underground. Then the bird has animals helping him out, so it becomes a big tug of war. It’s about finding your way out of situations like that which just go on forever and no one’s getting anywhere,” he says.

One of the most delightful things about Heave Ho! is that its illustrations are completely different in style from the work you might be most familiar with from him.

Whether you call him Ray or Lucio, he’ll always be Jose to Savannah, and we’re happy to have him! —Jim Morekis

Runner-up: Panhandle Slim

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