AOL Article

10,000 Pens = 1 Crazy Mercedes

By: Michael McLaughlin AOL Contributor

Costas Schuler and his pen-covered Mercedes-Benz always have the write of way.

Schuler’s 1981 300SD is covered inside and out with 10,000 pens — a work of art that he naturally called “the Mercedes Pens.” He uncapped his creative side five years ago, using recycled pens to transform his vehicle, after seeing a book about artists who treated their autos like canvasses.

“It’s very vibrant, it’s alive,” said Schuler, 39, of Forestville, Calif. “It’s an amazing form of expression.”
Driving a Mercedes Pens
Costas Schuler drives a car to write home about. His ’81 Mercedes has an armor of 10,000 pens covering it, inside and out.

Costas Schuler drives a car to write home about. His ’81 Mercedes has an armor of 10,000 pens covering it, inside and out.

Silicone glue holds in place 500 pounds of ballpoints, color markers and the stray mechanical pencil or two over almost the entire surface of the car.

“Doing this to your car and then driving it around is kind of gutsy,” Schuler told AOL News. “There’s not a lot of people that do that.”

The metamorphosis into the Pen Guy began quietly for Schuler. Reading Harrod Blank’s “Art Cars” book planted the seed in Schuler’s head to decorate his Mercedes.

He was stumped as to how to garnish the car until a eureka moment struck him: It dawned on him that pens are a plentiful product that could find a second life stuck to the hood of his whip.

“I figured it was easy to collect. People just throw them out. It was a medium that was easy to acquire, because everybody has a jar full of them.”

One night the dream became reality.

“I found 20 pens around the house and I stuck them on one night,” Schuler recalled. “I had a flashlight, 20 pens and silicone glue. I put them on the driver’s-side door.”

Mercedes pens car

Friends and family contributed their writing instruments to Schuler’s project, but his demand forced him to widen his collection network. Eventually he arranged for several secondhand stores and charities in his town to save pens that people dropped off.

A Goodwill store is his steadiest supplier.

“They have a 10-gallon bucket there and they fill it up once a month,” he said. “Thrift shops are the best for me. People don’t throw stuff out even if it doesn’t work. So they donate it.”

Schuler and the source of his inspiration, Blank, have become friendly since the Mercedes Pens hit the road.

“It’s a good example of what you would call a glue car or some people-textured mosaic or a second skin,” said Blank, referring to several art car categories.

“He took it to the nth degree,” Blank told AOL News, “and that’s what I think you have to do to make a car stand out compared to other art cars.”

Blank, well known for a van covered with working cameras, doesn’t drive an art car every day to avoid attention, but Schuler’s aging Mercedes is his primary mode of transportation.

And he welcomes the frequent questions from curious strangers about the car, he said.

“My whole thing is to inspire people to walk in their destiny,” Schuler said. “What is it in your life that you really want to do?”

He’s owned the Mercedes since 2000, but it’s traveled more than 272,000 miles since it rolled off the dealer’s lot.

Costas Schuler in his Mercedes Pens

Courtesy Costas Schuler
Schuler sits behind the wheel of the Mercedes Pens. Writing instruments decorate the inside, too.

Schuler said he’s never been pulled over by police because of the ornamental objects.

Neighborhood children vandalized it twice, stealing about 10 to 20 pens, he said.

The ostentatious vehicle hasn’t caused any friction in the Schuler household. His wife and four children are willing passengers in the car.

“My wife is on board with it,” said Schuler. “They’re all very cool with it. They have a creative bent.”

Schuler wants to branch out and cover different objects with pens.

“Pentopia is an idea I had that’s like Legoland or a roadside attraction where everything is made out of pens,” Schuler said. “Roadside attractions are Americana. I’d love to be part of this legacy.”

Anyone can support Schuler’s recycled pen projects via his website.

Article via AOL

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