My name is Scott Hagan and I am known as the BarnArtist. My career truely began when I was hired as part of the Ohio Bicentennial barn painting campaign where at least one barn in each of Ohio’s 88 counties earned a painting of the official logo during 1998-2003.
HOW IT STARTED
The Ohio Bicentennial Commission was looking for a unique way to advertise about it’s upcoming 200 year birthday, and upon seeing a photograph of the beautiful Ohio State Buckeye logo painted on a Hagan family barn, they began to spin the idea for a statewide project.
I had gained local notoriety painting sports logos on old barns in Belmont County, Ohio. my first project was a Chief Wahoo emblem from my favorite team, the Cleveland Indians. My talent was recognized at school and was asked to paint the baseball field advertisements, and even the school mascot on the 50 yardline during football season.
THE BARN PAINTING PROCESS
Each barn represents its own challenges in size and placement of the logo. Much of my work is done freehand beginning with a carpenters crayon and oversized rulers. Some barns can really soak up the paint, (into gaps in the boards and knotholes) but its really nice when the barn has a nice base coat to start with. Otherwise the surface should be prepared by scraping, priming, then a sound topcoat. It’s great however when I get to simply roll in and start on the artwork.
I use a makeshift scaffolding and some invented tools to help make the projects easier. Many barns average 3-15 gallons of paint for the artwork, and take 1-3 days to complete.
My freehand painting style has been compared to the work of fellow Belmont Countian Harley Warrick, best known for the Mail Pouch logos he painted on barns across the country. Warrick was the last of the Mail Pouch painters. I grew up 15 miles from his home. When I was asked to do the Ohio project, I knew I needed more than just a ladder for the work. My Dad called him one day and asked for a visit. He showed me how the old mail pouch barn painting crews used a rope and pulley scaffolding and how to tie off the knots and rig the block and tackle. I still use his plank that was given to me today. Warrick passed suddenly in the winter of 2000 at age 76. Now, I really have no one to ask questions of or share barn stories with that can truely understand what it takes to create signs on the side of a barn.
My painting work has been featured in several state promotional videos, a national video essay entitled "Discoveries...America", several magazine’s including "Out Here", "Country Magazine", "Ohio Magazine" and more. "USA Today", "The Wall Street Journal", and even "Ripley’s Believe It Or Not" have written articles.
My personal goal is to have barn paintings or some type of painting project in every state. As of 2/26/12 I have 18 states under my belt. Lord willing it will be fun to see how far this job will take me!