Come summer, artist Scott LoBaido requires a pretty simple palette: just red, white and blue.
For 25 years, the Staten Islander has been decorating houses, businesses and restaurants in the motif of the American flag.
“There are artists who sit around and do landscapes. I’m doing portraits of America,” said LoBaido, 55, who estimates he has painted some 1,000 flags on buildings — sometimes on a roof, sometimes covering the entire façade.
Days ago, he put the finishing touches on Joan Brodick’s Midland Beach two-story home, just in time for the Fourth of July.
LoBaido’s patriotic mission began when he was just getting started in the art world in the 1990s, and he saw an exhibit at the School of the Art Institute that had a flag on the floor.
“I saw the disgusting hatred for everything American. I didn’t want any part of it,” he told The Post. By the mid-’90s he began painting giant flags on any surface he could, including cars. “People laughed at me, nobody wanted it,” he said.
He would go door to door around Staten Island, begging people to let him paint, free of charge, their shop, home or garage in a flag motif. Eventually he convinced a few. Then in 2001, things changed.
“Right after 9/11, everyone became patriotic. It was, ‘Get the flag guy!’ ” said LoBaido, who has even painted Old Glory on city firehouses and still does not charge for his work. “Suddenly everyone wanted a flag mural. I was beyond booked.”
Brodick, a 67-year-old great-grandma, is thrilled with the new flag mural decorating her home, and said it has already attracted major attention.
“Everyone’s beeping their horns — it’s beautiful,” said Brodick, adding that her late husband, Paul, a 50-year Navy veteran, would be “so proud.
“People die for this flag, they give up everything so we could have freedom. I believe in and love this country, and I want people to know it.”
But not everyone is a fan of LoBaido’s outspokenness. He has been arrested 12 times, he said, including in 1999 when he hurled horse manure at the Brooklyn Museum in protest of an exhibit in which one of the Virgin Mary’s breasts was formed from elephant dung. He was also arrested in December 2001, when he painted a flag outside an Upper West Side school to protest the district board axing the Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom.
Earlier this month, he said, he was pressured to remove a sculpture — “two white figures and two black figures helping each other push a ladder up so they can reach a peace sign” — he had installed in front of Staten Island’s Borough Hall. LoBaido, who described it as “apolitical,” said other local artists “lost their noodle” because he’s a Trump supporter and they threatened to vandalize his work. He also claims someone created a Facebook group entitled “Exposing Staten Island Racists,” with his name and address at the top of the list.
“It was a very emotional piece and I did not want anyone to get hurt emotionally by seeing it desecrated,” he said of the decision to remove the sculpture.
But nothing, he said, will stop him from painting flags on houses.
“The art world has ripped the s–t out of me,” he said. “But my artwork isn’t hoity-toity. I’m the working man’s artist,” he said.
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