PANHANDLE SLIM, otherwise known as Scott Stanton, was a fixture in Pensacola’s skate and punk scene for years. Stanton started as a professional skater and later played with several bands, including This Bike is a Pipe Bomb and the Causey Way. Inspired by Georgia folk artist Howard Finster, Stanton painted his first work, a portrait of Dolly Parton, on scrap wood and adopted the pen name “Panhandle Slim.” As Stanton progressed in his portrait work, mostly of figures who inspired him, he used quotes from the subjects themselves or pieces from their biographies to create a stronger story with his art.
Panhandle Slim’s artistic focus was originally on artists he admired, but soon brought historical voices and living icons into his repertoire. While several U.S. Presidents now own Panhandle Slim portraits—including Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter—the artist is as likely to paint friends, family, and the most common person whom he wants to honor and celebrate. Today, one is as likely to see a Panhandle Slim painting in a classroom or tavern, as in a protest or art gallery. Inspired by his connections to Pensacola, Stanton used his art to create tributes to the three sailors killed in the December 6, 2019 terrorist attack at Naval Air Station Pensacola. A humble man, Panhandle Slim often donates his talents to individuals and causes he supports. He also honors the dead through his art, whether they be beloved family members or victims of national tragedy, such as the three fallen sailors depicted here.