Texas Country Reporter turns fifty in October 2022. Each week until then, we’ll share classic episodes from the show’s history and behind-the-scenes reflections from TCR’s creator and host, Bob Phillips.

In the course of filming Texas Country Reporter, we meet a lot of artists. I think that’s because artists tend to have different ways of looking at the world, and they seem to have thought a lot about life itself. Artists need to express themselves and we are happy to have them do just that, with a TCR camera rolling while they do it.

But that prompts the questions: What is art? And who exactly is an artist?

Well, we weaseled out of answering those questions decades ago by invoking this quote: “He who works with his hands, and his head, and his heart, is an artist.” It is often attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi, but it doesn’t really matter who said it because it suits our purpose just fine. If you create with a passion, then you’re an artist in our book.

So, over the years, we have done stories about artists of all kinds: the man who cornered the market on velvet Elvis paintings; the woman who created sculptures out of trash; the barber who cuts images into the side of your head while giving you a haircut. But one of my favorites was the guy who turned dusty old cars into works of art.

Scott Wade lived at the end of a long caliche road in the Hill Country. His car was always covered with clay dirt, and—people being people—often inscribed with the phrase “Wash Me!!”

“I can do better than that,” he thought, so he pulled out his brushes and started creating copies of paintings by the masters, like the Mona Lisa, on the back windshield of his car. That lead to many more commissioned works for people who don’t mind that the art disappears at the first sign of rain. He even produced a picture of a wandering television reporter on the TCR vehicle when we visited on that day in 2006.

And that, folks, was true art.