Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Part of humanity

"Conrad Jay Bladey of Lithicum, Md. waits outside of the Union Garage with his GMC Sierra "Magnet Car" for his daughter, Margaret, who is a freshmen art major at Towson University, Tuesday, March 25. Bladey's GMC Sierra has hundreds of toys either glued or magnetized to it. In addition, he owns six art-cars and his daughter owns one."

Days like Tuesday are long. A full day of classes in combination with three photo assignments leaves me little to no down time. I had no dinner; a quick lunch and I can't say my breakfast was anything to brag about either. To put it all in perspective, I left my house at 8 a.m. and got home a little after 10 p.m.

Don't get me wrong, I love being busy. I had a blast shooting assignments (not so much sitting in class all morning and afternoon). But when you stumble across people that are not apart of your original scheduled day, it's always an added bonus.

Around 6 p.m., I got a call from Sharon, editor in chief of The Towerlight, saying there was something unusual near the Union Garage.

Not knowing what to expect, I headed outside with my camera. When I got close, I saw this abnormal looking vehicle from a far.

Sharon told me that's what she saw, a funky car, but she didn't know why it was there or who the owner was. I love meeting new people, so I opted to shoot a couple photos than talk to the owner.

Everyone has a story to tell. Some evident, others not. For Conrad Jay Bladey (or Conrad) his toy plastered automobile screamed a fascinating story.

After firing a couple frames, I simply introduced myself to Conrad, told him I liked his car and did what any curious passerby would do; I started asking him about it.

A visionary artist, a teacher and (close your child's eyes) a Santa, he passionately told me of his GMC Sierra "Magnet Car" and his other six vehicles. All of his automobiles have different themes and he said it all started when people started putting stickers and magnets on his car. Also, he told me about his daughter, whom he was waiting to pick up.

His daughter, Margaret, also has an art-car; however, it was in an accident, thus being the reason of Conrad being at Towson University. To pick her up.

As I stood there gawking at his handcrafted gem, littered with toys held on either by glue or magnets, I made connections to past art-car fanatics I've photographed and realized that this is just another form of art and like me, he has a vision.

But amidst the talk of his car and life, the most motivating thing about Conrad was when I asked him why? Why glue sunburned Barbie’s on the roof, Santas and baby doll heads on the hood and scribble quotes on the quarter panels.

His response was enlightening, "Anything that can bring a smile to someone’s face."

Who would have thought that there are really people out there whose ambition in life is to bring joy to others? Typically people want to make themselves happy first, but that didn't seem to be the case with Conrad.

He talked to me about how he would never drive anything that was plain, because it was boring, but mostly because, he too, liked to connect with other people.

I can't remember verbatim what he said, but it was something along the lines of:
"People connect to art-cars. When they see cars like this they are stunned and they smile. They want to talk and you connect. Much like now. You're part of humanity.”


How many people can say they get out of bed every morning with the goal to make someone smile? I'll be honest; I come first in my life. But I am sure Conrad makes more than his family and significant other smile daily, because it's his goal and all with something he avidly loves to do.


Blogger Conrad Bladey (Peasant) said...

Thanks everso much for the kind words Patrick. We all go about making the world better all in our own ways.

Today is Saturday night early sunday...I will be back driving Margaret Monday- I think early- probably get to towson 7:30 am and pick up in the evening....

I may be in the stadium lot- as I brought the commuter pass from the damaged car and put it in the truck.

Anything to be in the paper- if so let me know and I will have Margaret look out for it.

Good news and possible Towson link for a story is that the Star car is going to be fixed sometime middle of next week we hope. It was running rough so may have to go in to the shop for a check up so maybe friday or monday for its triumphal return....

Nothing like having an artcar for a parental taxi though! I have now talked to hundreds of towson students I would have never met. I also talked with the Morning DJ from the radio station who turns out to be a long lost family friend! I told him that perhaps the station would like to use one of their donated cars to be transformed into art to promote the station and the car donation program...

I always play towson radio from the truck speakers when I am there.

Also- I am just finishing a new instalation in my art environment aka back yard in linthicum....should be done by monday- search for my blog on google...Bladey, Hutman, Handy car... You can reach me at

Thanks again. We are all self funded around here- so wonderful to be appreciated. Great photo.


Sunday, March 30, 2008 12:40:00 AM  
Blogger Conrad Bladey (Peasant) said...

Greetings! Good to see that the newspaper article finally made it with your clever photo! Congratulations. Good work!
Well done...

Saturday and sunday april 19-20 we are celebrating new curbs and sidewalks....we will put chalk art on them....a sort of plain they will soon be colorful

Also....artcars will be on display....light refreshments served chalk available or bring your own.

Margarets star car has a new hood and it is being decorated...amazing...all welcome especially children. We want to cover all the new sidewalks with chalk art so we need help. Great chance to see progress on the star car and the rest of the artcar fleet....saturday after 4 sunday after 12...402 Nancy Ave. Linthicum, Md. 21090

Thanks again for your fantastic photo work!


Monday, April 14, 2008 3:55:00 PM  

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