Saturday, May 04, 2002

'The paint that graced Ohio's barns'

        As a young painter of old barns, Scott Hagan needs an agent. He's a prime candidate for product-endorsement deals. Scott is an agent's dream. Mature for his age, he's 25 going on 65. A perfectionist, he's well-mannered and one of a kind. He is the only painter hired for Ohio's Bicentennial Barn Project.

        It's his job and only his job to paint the state's red-white-and-blue bicentennial logo on the side of a prominently situated barn in each of Ohio's 88 counties by 2003.

        Scott finished painting Hamilton's County's official bicentennial barn Thursday night. He tore down his scaffolding, lowered his ladders and secured his paint cans around 9:30 p.m. at Bernie Fiedeldey's place on East Miami River Road. Next stop: Morrow County.

        The work is slow-going. Scott's been at it since 1998. He's 72 counties down, 16 to go.

        And nary a product endorsement in sight.

        Reimbursed by the Bicentennial Commission for his supplies, Scott uses Sherwin-Williams paint exclusively.

        “Latex and oil base,” he said as we leaned against the tailgate of his pickup truck.

        Cans of paint lined the truck's bed. Red. White. Blue. Black for the logo's letters and numbers.

        Sherwin-Williams is based in Cleveland. The company has lots of stores throughout the state. Seems like a natural tie-in with Scott. He could star in a commercial for their paint. It'd be good for the company and the bicentennial.

        Sears' paint ads once used historic homes. Scott's historic. He's one of the few free-hand artists left whose canvas is literally as big as the broad side of a barn.

        Unlike the homes in the Sears spots, Scott talks.

        Has anyone ever asked him to make a paint commercial?


        After a long pause, he added:

        “Sherwin-Williams did kick in 200 gallons of free paint this season. Hopefully it'll be enough to finish the project. Sometimes it takes half a gallon. Sometimes 35.

        “And they give me a 25 percent discount on brushes.”

        Scott doesn't want to sound ungrateful. But he thinks the paint company is “not really publicizing this project.”

        The Sherwin-Williams store in my neighborhood has nothing on display about Scott or the barn-painting project.

        “I would think they would want to put their logo on my truck,” Scott said.

        The barn painter's truck has just the bicentennial logo on a magnetic door sign along with this phone number, (740) 926-1486, in case someone like Brian Goldberg, Ken Griffey Jr.'s agent, needs another client.

        Scott is a baseball fan. He listens to games while he paints.

        “I have satellite radio in the truck,” he said. “I back it up to the barn. And with my remote I can flip from '80s music to classical to country.

        “But what I really like to listen to are the ballgames. They make the time go fast. The way they describe the action, I can just see it.”

        Scott lives in Jerusalem, Ohio. He calls that Cleveland Indians territory.

        “But,” he added, “I listen to Reds and Pirates games, too.”

        During the games, he paints and thinks about his wife, Amanda.

        “She doesn't do too well at home alone at night.”

        He likens his life to a ballplayer's existence.

        “We're both on the road, away from family most of the summer.”

        He noticed one significant difference.

        “They can afford to take their wives along.”

        Of course they can. They have endorsements.

        Columnist Cliff Radel can be reached at; 768-8379; fax 768-8340. Past columns at


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