Mental Floss

Drawing on Cars: Scott Wade

Andréa Fernandes

Since it's that time of year when pollen coats car windows, today is a good day to honor reader Ginger's request for a "Feel Art Again" post on Scott Wade. Wade has gained fame for his "dirty car art," such as his "Impermanent Albert" (shown above).

1. Comparing his creations to sand mandalas, ice sculptures, jack o'lanterns, and sand castles, Scott Wade explains, "I don't do this to try and create immortal works of art. We aren't going to be around forever, and nothing we do is going to last forever as much as we'd like it to. We need to learn to let go of that I think, and just enjoy what's here."

2. There's another reason behind Wade's work besides learning to enjoy the impermanent: conservation. Wade and his wife don't like to wash their cars as often as would be necessary to keep them clean because, "We live over the Edwards Aquifer and we want to preserve it."

3. Wade and his family live off Roadrunner Road, a mile and a half of unpaved road north of San Marcos, Texas. The road is covered in caliche, a mix of limestone dust, gravel, and clay. Each week, Wade's Mini Cooper accumulates such a thick coating of caliche that he can barely see through the windows, which is when Wade works his magic.

4. Within a few days of creating his Web site, Wade had become "a darling of Internet bloggers." Now, his services are in demand—in addition to performing at art festivals such as Luminaria (San Antonio, TX) and the upcoming Atlanta Arts Festival, he's been hired for a number of commercial ventures as well. Wade has created pieces for Ford Escape, CMT's Country Fried Home Videos, Inside Edition, American Profiles magazine, the National Biodiesel Board Conference, Mitsubishi, and Mattel.

5. Wade is skilled at reproducing famous works of art in his unique medium. He did a combination of Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" and Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night," as well as reproductions of C.M. Coolidge's "A Friend in Need" (Poker Dogs), Johannes Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring," Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus," Mt. Rushmore, and Grant Wood's "American Gothic." He has even spoofed Michelangelo's "The Creation of Adam."

A larger version of Wade's "Impermanent Albert" is available here. Fans should check out Wade's Web site and Wade featured on "Texas Country Reporter" (video) and CBS' "The Early Show" (video). "Feel Art Again" usually appears every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. You can e-mail us at with details of current exhibitions, for sources or further reading, or to suggest artists.