Person of the Week: Scott Lobaido

ByABC News
September 8, 2006, 5:06 PM

Sept. 8, 2006 — -- When New York City artist Scott Lobaido looks at a roof, what he sees is a canvas, a canvas he fills with his unabashed affection for the American flag and the veterans who have served under it.

"I'm a crazy New York City artist living in America, and I pretty much have more freedom than most people do in the entire world," Lobaido says. "It's a big, fat greeting card saying, Thank you!"

And as thanks, he paints the flags for free.

"It's not pro-war, anti-war. It's about these men and women who step up to the plate. It's about the patriotic glue, this glue that keeps us all together regardless of our ideology," he says.

For years in New York, Lobaido's art stoked controversy. It was the work of an angry patriot who wanted to provoke.

But since 9/11, Lobaido has been rethinking his stance. And what he believes now is that true patriotism is less "in your face" and more from the heart.

"I don't think there's ever too much patriotism. Especially now," he says.

Now he's painting the flag in all 50 states, which is no easy journey. He's making the mission in a patched-up old Chevrolet Suburban with no air conditioning. He calls his truck Betsy.

So far, he's painted Old Glory from Maine to Montana, Alaska to Hawaii.

Lobaido and Betsy have another 10,000 miles or so to go. He's pretty sure they'll make it, thanks to the kindness of strangers he's already met at every stop.

"People are OK," he says, laughing. "And you know, I'm obviously touching a nerve because people want to be part of what I'm doing."

And he's finding that Sept. 11 still has a lot of other Americans thinking, too.

"As far away as Alaska, Butte, Mont., and down South, it's still with people. And I'm really excited to bring that back and, you know, tell the people, my fellow New Yorkers, that no one's forgotten. It's a good thing."