If you’ve spent any amount of time in Savannah, you know Panhandle Slim’s art.
His paintings, done on a variety of repurposed woods, feature a quote along with a portrait of the attributable person. It’s a simple format, and it’s strikingly powerful.
“I’m not the best artist, but I do paint some of the best people along with what they write, sing, or speak,” says Slim, real name Scott Stanton.
Stanton has been painting for many years, but his art recently gained some more notoriety after he volunteered to hand-paint a cardboard sign for each person who went to the Women’s March on Washington back in January.
Stanton is very engaged in social justice, and his art doesn’t stray from the political—he uses it deliberately to send a political message. As his Facebook friends know, he often leaves signs with politically relevant messages in prominent places around town.
One such sign, dropped at Bull and West 40th, quotes Dick Gregory as saying, “There is something wrong with a system that can keep everybody so ignorant, yet everybody thinks they are so smart.”
Stanton is also behind the Walls of Hope project, a partnership with Savannah Youth City where he puts up paintings with positive messages in places where the city most needs a pop of colorful inspiration.
“To me, personally, [Walls of Hope] has been successful because strangers come up to me and tell me how much the paintings mean to them,” says Stanton. “Those folks are no longer strangers to me, and I am no longer a stranger to them. To me, it’s that simple. That is success.” —Rachael Flora
Runner-up: Jose Ray