The Palm Beach Post
By Erica Van Buren Special to The Post
Posted Nov 21, 2019 at 7:43 PM
Boynton Beach artist ‘Stan the Candy Man’ is living the sweet life
Artist Stanford Slutsky and his wife, Kathy, stand with some of his creations inside their home Wednesday in Boynton Beach. Photo by Richard Graulich / palmbeachpost.com
The 78-year-old self-taught artist makes sculptures of tasty treats — and samples the real thing for inspiration.
BOYNTON BEACH — local artist Stanford Slutsky’s focus has been on making candy art — it’s not edible, but it sure looks like it. Slutsky of Boynton Beach, recounts his time as an ice cream truck driver and says this time in his life was the catalyst that led him to creating art inspired by food.
“When I lived in Pittsburgh 38 years ago, I was in the grocery business,” said Slutsky. “I was doing sculptures when I was in the grocery business. They were made out of ceramics. My love of sweet things got me involved in what I’m doing today.” On his website, Slutsky’s work is described as “hyperrealism pop art food sculptures” that are “larger than life.” The artist says that by “enlarging the size of these snacks and desserts...enhances the viewer’s craving for them.” “When I was driving an ice cream truck for the summer of 1957 they were calling me ‘Stan the Candy Man’ because I was delivering ice cream on a stick. Recently, when I’ve done shows, they see my “candy” and they call me ‘Stan the Candy Man’” once again, he says. Prior to making candy art, the self-taught artist was creating optical illusion geometric paintings.
When asked where he gets inspiration, the 78-year-old doesn’t hesitate. “I get my inspiration from life in general. I cannot make anything unless I’m influenced to make it,” said Slutsky. “When I taste the food then I can create it. That’s why I’ve gained so much weight.”
As for as his creative process, he says he buys the product from the grocery store and freezes it so he can uses it as inspiration while he works. “Lay them out, eat one and get a feel for what I’m doing,” he said. “Right now I’m making macaroons. Large, flavorful, colorful macaroons.”
“I can only work on one piece of art at a time,” said Slutsky. “I’m a self-taught artist. I get excited after finishing a piece. It’s a lot of fun. I just love doing this. It makes me feel like a child again.”
Slutsky’s work has been showcased in Sundook Art Galleries in Delray, Gallery Art in Aventura, Coral Springs Museum of Art and the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art. Slutsky admits making food art is somewhat rare.
A friend of his for the past 25 years, Jack Newman, is an artist who paints food on canvas. “I’m probably the only one in Florida that does what I do,” Slutsky said, who credits his mother for getting him interested in art. “I kid around a lot by saying, ‘My mother dropped me on my head at the age of three, and I knew I was going to be an artist.’” At age 6, he says he started unearthing clay from his childhood backyard in Pittsburgh and using it to make sculptures of animals and people. When he was in high school, he pivoted to working with wood and metal. “I actually won awards in jewelry-making,” he said. As for his wife, she said she has it easy. “My role is really supporting whatever he does...And also tasting,” she laughs.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.
‘Calorie-free’ food art looks good enough to eat. Photo By Marty Harris
Boynton Beach artist Stanford Slutsky creates art that looks like delectable desserts.
In the past, youngsters during spring and summer weeks listened for the jangling bells of the Good Humor man’s ice cream truck to buy a delicious treat — a Popsicle or Fudgsicle on a stick.
Stanford Slutsky, 78, of Boynton Beach, creates unmistakable lifelike portraits of the sweet ice cream treats he remembers from his youth in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh. He also creates art that looks like chocolates, hamburgers, bagels and pizza, among others.
After one year of college, he spent his career in the wholesale grocery business, retiring to Florida in 1983.
“I’m a self-taught artist, that I believe comes from a higher power,” said Slutsky, who sports a goatee and boasts a puckish sense of humor, saying he is “the best looking artist you know.”
“Creating food art was the natural growth of my background. Looking back at my life, driving a Good Humor ice cream truck for a summer job, being in the grocery business, my love of food, especially my love of sweet things inspired my choice of subjects. I think of my art before going to sleep and I wake up thinking of my art, and go into my studio to work on my art.
“When I was a child,” Slutsky said, “there was something about the illusions magicians created that captured my imagination. I want that same vivid sense of illusions to be central in all my artwork."
His current works of food are colorful, playful, mouth-watering and, as he joked, “calorie-free.”
Slutsky has exhibited in numerous venues and participated in many national and international competitions including the online gallery in the United Kingdom, Coral Springs Museum of Art, Boca Raton Museum of Art 54th annual All Florida Juried Competition and Exhibition.
Slutsky was nominated to the Florida Arts Hall of Fame in 1993. His “Assorted Box of Candy” won an award at The Armory of West Palm Beach and Art in Public Places at the Palm Beach International Airport, Fort Lauderdale Art Museum, Coral Springs Art Museum, City of Boynton Beach to mention a few.
He credits his enjoyment through his journey in life to his wife of 57 years, Kathy, 75; their three children: Roberta 56; Marlin, 54; and Adele, 50, and their spouses from Pittsburgh and Majorca Spain and Six grandchildren.
He said he loves to do all the grocery shopping and cook for his wife, family and friends while enjoying a drink of tequila before preparing dinner.
“Cooking makes me relax,” Slutsky said. He also shares good times with his longtime friends from grade school.
“In 1984, along with David Maxwell, we created and started an Arts District in downtown Hollywood, Florida, which enabled unknown but talented artists to display their works,” he said. “One Friday of each month, we held receptions that included music, and opened a theater. The public viewed and purchased the works of the many local artists and provided them the opportunity to create more pieces of art. I am proud of that accomplishment.”
Slutsky credits his wife as the person he most admires.
“She is honest, dependable, kind, compassionate and wonderful. She has benefited me throughout our lives together," he said.
By Mort Mazor Sun Sentinel Correspondent | NOV 11, 2019 I