He’s made a likeness of the Mona Lisa.
There’s a portrait of Albert Einstein.
He’s even recreated that infamous picture of dogs playing poker.
You’ve seen knock-offs of those before. So what’s the big deal about Scott Wade’s art? It’s his canvas.
The San Marcos, Texas graphics interface designer paints his masterpieces in a place where they’re guaranteed not to last for posterity – the dirty windows on his Mini Cooper.
Like many of us, Wade has seen those cars badly in need of some water and has been tempted to scrawl the hackneyed ‘wash me’ on a dust obscured back window.
But one day four years ago, inspiration struck, and the artist-in-waiting decided to attempt something far more ambitious than just a message about dirt. At first, he used his finger to sketch cartoon-like figures on his own car.
Then he discovered a new trick – you could use a frayed Popsicle stick to get all kinds of gray hues in that ash. So he began experimenting and before he knew it his artistic bent – with an accent on the bent – began coming out.
Wade can often be seen zooming his car over dusty hill and trail, trying to accumulate a layer of dirt on the back windshield so he can draw his newest creation.
In addition to his classics, the 48-year-old has also done replicas of Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, Boticelli’s “The Birth of Venus”, a picture of his late dog, various funny faces, a tribute to a magazine writer who wrote an article about him, and even a likeness of “The Last Supper.”
He’s also received requests to use the ashes of cremated people to draw their likenesses as they roll to their final resting place, a decidedly creepy idea.
“I’ve always drawn pictures on dirty windows,” the artist explains. “It wasn’t a conscious decision to develop a new art form. It was just looking for art in everything.”
Each one takes only about half an hour to create and the results can be astonishing.
He’s made about 50 of them so far, and never washes them off, allowing time, nature and the occasional rain storm to do that for him. He takes pictures of every one of them and claims he’s never upset when they’re gone, calling that the transitory nature of his muse.
Besides, like an Etch-a-Sketch, it simply clears the way for his next creation.
“Since it’s temporary it doesn’t have to be perfect,” Wade points out. “You don’t have to belabour it.”
Naturally, there are academics who hail his work as a bold new step in the world of art.
“They’re really transient art which, again, artists have done,” explains Texas State University art and design professor Brian Row, who taught Wade in college. “You experience it once and it’s gone. … It certainly falls within the range of the way artists work.”
Among Wade’s worst enemies in his creative endeavours: too much sun (which can make the dust difficult to manipulate), a downpour (which happens frequently in Texas), and a rear windshield wiper (which can act as a giant eraser.)
To see this amazing artwork, click here.