A well-known Staten Island artist who painted American flags in all 50 states after the September 11th attacks is now focusing his talents and attention on his hometown that was hit hard by Sandy.
Staten Island Artist Scott LoBaido has painted the American flag thousands of times over the years in New York and across the country. Now LoBaido is once again taking on the stars and stripes as an act of patriotism and an act of giving.
"This is my gift, you know. I did a weeks' worth of hard labor cleaning out friends houses and stuff and then I saw it was time the flags started to go up," says LoBaido.
Scott painted flags on roofs across the country after 9/11 and in New Orleans after Katrina but New York is home. So with a heavy heart LoBaido is painting flags in hard-hit Staten Island neighborhoods. One brightens a supply trailer across from an emergency supply center at a heavily damaged VFW in Oakwood Beach. One side of the street shows the power of the storm, the other shows the power of the people. Neighbors set up their own 24-hour a day "rescue center".
"It’s very doom and gloom down here everything that went on and Scott brought all these colors and it brings the whole neighborhood to life," says Frank Jericitano, a Guyon Rescue volunteer.
"People look for these flags and they know what it stands for," says Michele Yacovelo, a Guyon Rescue volunteer.
"Shows that we got power and we never give up and America's always with us, God's always with us," says Youssef Abdelaziem, a Guyon Rescue volunteer.
Scott also painted a house in Midland Beach, a storefront in Great Kills and a school that has become a memorial to 13-year-old Angela Dresch in Tottenville.
"Her mom Patricia actually heard about it and contacted me and just wanted to give me a hug. If I lifted her spirits this much you know with my crazy art work I think I’m on to something," says LoBaido.
LoBaido is inspired by the American flag not just because he’s patriotic but because he believes it is the greatest work of art of all time.
And despite painting red, white and blue so many times, LoBaido says he still gets choked up.
For more information, visit www.scottlobaido.com.