Wichita graffiti artist Baxter “Slim” Suber’s pieces are full of rich, color-infused letters that help turn his paintings into expressive story-telling murals. Although you may not know his name, Slim’s work is displayed around Wichita: on the Antoine Carr basketball courts, a mural at Madabolic Gym east(near the Stryker Sports Complex), and his work on the 10’ Keeper of the Plains statue located in West Douglas Park at 3201 W. Douglas.
In collaboration with local artist Brady Scott, Slim recently finished a mural titled “Colorblind Sunset,” a piece dedicated to overcoming one’s battles and a symbol of unification between two artists from different ethnic backgrounds. The mural is a part of the Douglas Design Project and can be found on the north wall of the Lytton’s Appliance Showroom, located just south of Hillside and Douglas.
“Colorblind Sunset means that even though I am limited with my vision of color, I don’t let it stop me from being an artist. It also represents a unity of good friends who are from completely different ethnicities uniting to create this work of art,” said Slim. “At the end of the day, we are all capable of being great no matter where we come from or what we look like.”
Slim believes in the power of graffiti as a form of artistic expression. He paints for the challenge and pleasure of expressing himself visually, using his own experiences and surroundings as inspiration during the art-making process.
“I love taking letters from their natural form and turning them into something else because societies tend to channel you to think a certain way, but, to me, why do we have to live by those means when there’s so much potential in making something more abstract, without having to actually change it,” said Slim.
Slim’s love for art started at a young age; he would draw sketches of his favorite athletes or comic book characters in his free time. During the late 1990s, Slim would ride his skateboard at Boardorline Skatepark, formerly located at the Hydraulic and Central intersection, and became enamored by the work graffiti artists did there.
Shortly after his teen years, Slim moved to Dallas and shifted his focus away from art.
It wasn’t until a decade later, after returning to Wichita, that Slim began to pursue a career as a graffiti artist seriously. He described the move back to Wichita as a “rebirth” and credited the hometown move with helping him find his love for art again.
Unlike most artists, Slim is a self-taught graffiti painter. Rather than attending art school, he gained experience developing his own style.
“ Art school teaches you someone else’s style. You can put me next to somebody that’s been to school, and I have the same amount of experience, and I’ve learned everything on my own, which gives me a unique style,” said Slim.
With over 12 years of experience as a graffiti artist, Slim believes he has begun to master his craft, and he is looking to expand beyond Kansas to paint murals nationwide. By becoming a traveling artist, Slim believes his work will improve due to the influence culture has on art.
When Slim isn’t creating art pieces, he is a full-time girl dad of three daughters. He works as a supervisor for the NORC at the University of Chicago, an objective, a nonpartisan research organization that delivers insights and analysis in the areas of education, economics, and global development. It is one of the largest independent social research organizations in the United States.
Click here to see more of Slim’s work.