Great Bend Known as a “Cartist”, or a car artist, Great Bend resident Rex Rosenberg takes great pleasure in a unique creative outlet — decorating funky vehicles.
Rosenberg’s interest in art cars began in 1997 when he began reading about online trips in an art car. This interest expanded, and in 1998, Rosenberg purchased a VW bug.
“It sat for three years,” said Rosenberg. He then found a guy who built the frame, changing the vehicle into a three-wheeled, one-passenger purple “Bug Wing.”
Although he was a motorcycle rider and a founding member of the Christian motorcycle club, it didn’t occur to Rosenberg to take the bug to an art car show. Spotting talent, a friend suggested he take the vehicle to an event after seeing the Bug Wing in a parade at Lucas.
The rest, as they say is history, and Rosenberg delved deeply into becoming a cartist and enjoying the lighter side of life after years of working as a psychologist in Great Bend and at Larned State Hospital in Larned, Kan.
When his sister’s Subaru was totaled in a hailstorm, Rosenberg jumped at the chance to decorate a car of his own.
After thinking for a year, and while on a trip across Nebraska, dentures popped into his head. Refusing to analyze why an individual would want to glue teeth and dentures to a car, he began looking for ways to collect them but had difficulty finding a source.
While browsing on eBay one day, he found a 75-pound box of partials for $285.
“It worked out perfectly for me,” he said. After bleaching the teeth and using rubber gloves, Rosenberg began attaching the items to the Subaru. He named it the “Chewbaru.”
With a vision, but no grand design for decorating the vehicle, Rosenberg still keeps a tube of glue called Goop Marine Glue in the vehicle in case an interesting item makes an appearance. “More is better,” he said. People give him dental implements and one kid with a loose tooth made a donation.
He refers to the car as “abject art,” which is art that is outside of the normal order of things and provokes a reaction.
And capture the attention of others, it does. People stare, take pictures, laugh, and approach the vehicle. “People really love it or think it is disgusting,” said Rosenberg.
“It’s a nice diversion and a lot of fun,” said Rosenberg. He has no definite ideas for another car, but his unique ideas have paid off in other ways. The car shows aren’t judged, but Rosenberg has won trophies and cash prizes.
“I like to have fun,” said Rosenberg. “I like to make people laugh. I get the biggest kick when some women just break out in laughter.” For some reason, it seems to be only women that have that reaction.
In addition, Rosenberg also decorated a motorcycle called “Nathan’s Nightmare,” which he uses to show the transformation from darkness to light through faith.
Spirituality is important to Rosenberg, and the attention the vehicles attract opens the door for him to share his faith.
On his business card for the Bug Wing, a salvation plan is printed on the back. Also, he serves as chaplain for the Christian Motorcycle Club.