Scott McQueen is an Alabama Maker turning car tags into folk art

Scott McQueen is an Alabama Maker turning car tags into folk art
Scott McQueen's gifting of repurposing old car tags comes by inspiration. He took his pieces to a larger audience when friends kept requesting a piece he'd created for himself. (Mike Tomberlin)

Scott McQueen Folk Art, Northport
The Maker: Scott McQueen

It took awhile, but Scott McQueen finally realized he was producing art that people wanted to own.

“I had some old car tags, and I kind of sliced them up a little bit and made my own personalized tag,” he said. “I made one and hung it up and a friend of mine came by the house and said, ‘Hey, I like that!’ So I gave it to him and made another one. About two weeks later somebody came by again and said, ‘Hey, I like that!’ That was déjà vu. By the time I got to the third one and the third, ‘Hey, I like that!’ I thought maybe I’m on to something here.”

Scott McQueen is an Alabama Maker turning car tags into art from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

McQueen decided to pursue folk art in the same vein as fellow Fayette native Jimmy Lee Sudduth and B.F. “Brother Ben” Perkins from nearby Vernon.

One distinctive attribute of McQueen’s art is the way he incorporates previously used materials from barn wood to pieces of tin to license plates to what he calls “tool box junk.”

“I just enjoy country stuff. I enjoy making art out of repurposed material,” he said. “I find a lot of pleasure in you might say breathing new life into something that’s considered discard.”

McQueen said he doesn’t usually look for something with an idea in mind but just goes with the inspiration as it happens.

“Most times, it just kind of hits me,” he said. “I will find something, and it will be the right thing at the right time. I don’t necessarily have a lot of preplanning going on.”

Whatever the method, people are responding. His work features bright colors and a heavy dose of Southern whimsy.

Whether it’s his piece depicting a Southern translation of the 10 Commandments or a board that allows Crimson Tide fans to easily update their team’s ever-growing list of national championships, McQueen’s style and humor come through in his art.

The response has been so great earlier this year he was able to become a full-time artist. He was working as a full-time chaplain with Hospice of West Alabama while also trying to pursue his art. But when a space became available at Kentuck Art Center, McQueen applied and was accepted to be an artist in residence at the Northport art community.

Scott McQueen Folk Art

The product: Folk art featuring repurposed materials, bright colors and usually a good dose of whimsy.

Take home: A “Roll Tide” elephant hanging made out of car tags, a tractor seat and an old gas can spout ($250).

Scott McQueen’s art can be found at his studio at Kentuck Art Center (503 Main Avenue, Northport, under the big red dog) or on Facebook, Instagram or Etsy.

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