New York artist Scott LoBaido wants to make patriotism cool again. On Feb. 1, the self-proclaimed creative patriot will begin a tour on which he plans to paint 50 American flags on 50 roof tops in all 50 states to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that assists soldiers wounded in the Iraq War.
I want any soldier flying home from Iraq to be able to look down and see an American flag, and know we appreciate what they did, LoBaido said. It is my way to thank them.
LoBaido knows he is a minority in the artistic community with his patriotic leanings.
People in arts and entertainment kicked patriotism out of a moving car years ago, and I want to make it cool again. Artists should be the most patriotic people in America because we get to test the freedom of the Constitution. Artists have the most freedom here and should appreciate that, LoBaido, 40, said after he took a drag from a cigarette.
LoBaido got the idea for the project when he was down in Gulfport, MS after Hurricane Katrina. He went down to deliver supplies raised in his home borough of Staten Island. While on a break, he saw a roof that he thought would make a good canvas.
I decided to get up on the roof of a home and paint an American flag to raise morale. Once I started all the people in the area started to flock to the area. They were digging that this crazy New Yorker was out in the hot Mississippi sun painting an American flag on a roof. Soldiers were driving by giving me thumbs up.
The response in Mississippi was so good, LoBaido knew he could use his art to help out soldiers coming home for the war.
I have it good here, and I want to thank them, he said.
A few years back, when the Board of Ed was looking to stop the Pledge of Allegiance from being recited in school, LoBaido painted a flag on the large wooden door of an Upper West Side public school. For that, he earned an arrest and an appearance on the Bill O’Reilly show.
With this project, I am trying to move away from being a radical. Now what I am doing is crazy, but I graduated mentally and creatively and don’t have to get arrested to get my point across.
Lobaido begins his 50-state tour in North Carolina. He will follow the warm weather in the south and then head west, before ending up back in the city on August 31. He hasn’t chosen a roof to paint here, but he is aiming high.
I want to paint the roof on Madison Square Garden. It is perfect for a flaground and flat with a great view from the sky.