Lyndale man has art car karma

Ever wondered who's driving that camouflage-colored lizard-laden, jewel-spangled, mannequin-sprouting 1979 Cadillac Deville with the "1 Karma" vanity plate?

Meet Lyndale resident Shawn Allison.

He began the creation in 2000, shortly after his father, Wayne Allison, died, he said. "I was feeling down. I needed something to help me through it. I started decorating the car."

He had enjoyed watching Intermedia Arts' Art Car Parade for several years and decided to give it a try, Allison said. By the time he made up his mind to do it, he only had a couple of weeks to get his car ready.

He had an old mannequin, and it became the car's first ornament, said Allison, the former owner of Antiques Anonymous, who is now semi-retired. Then he started painting abstract designs on the car -- circles, ovals and banana-shapes -- and painted in and around them with yellow, green and red.

"The first year I did the paint, the horns and the mannequin," he said. "The second year I added the jewels -- the cabochons and birthstones. The next year I went to putting glitter on all the red designs and decorated the antennae. This year, I put green glitter on the green. It is an ongoing project. It improves every year."

He has also added the first three of ten coats of clear coat to make the car shinier, Allison said. The vehicle, dubbed Karma Chameleon, also needs ongoing maintenance, like touching up the numerous hand-painted lizards.

"The ones on the hubcaps get beat up worst," he said.