The Palm Beach Post
By Erica Van Buren Special to The Post
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 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 stores and freezes them 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.