Barn Find Creations – Interview with Dan Reed

Barn Find Creations – Interview with Dan Reed

Barn Find Creations - Interview with Dan Reed

Dan Reed creates photo-realistic, acrylic on canvas paintings from his studio in Hamburg Pennsylvania.

Dan told us about his new project called “Barn Find Creations”, so we caught up with him to ask questions about this new artwork.

AA: When did you first come up with the idea?

DR: I came up with the idea sitting in a Dunkin Donuts with a fellow car buddy of mine over coffee. This was last year. I like to break away from automotive paintings from time to time and last year I created a rolling hills landscape painting for my Mom for Mother’s Day.

I placed a farm way off in the distance in the painting. I just completed the painting at the time of our coffee meeting, so I showed it to my buddy Rob. His first comment was, “yeah, great, but your an automotive artist. What are you gonna’ do with it?” Jokingly I told Rob I’d hang it with all my automotive paintings at my next show and label the painting “58 Plymouth” and when spectators asked where the Plymouth was I’d point to the barn way off in the distance in the painting and tell people it was in there.

As soon as I said it a light-bulb went off and I started thinking out loud about the idea of painting the facade of a rustic barn on a piece of wood. Then paint a classic car on another piece of wood and place it behind a pair of hinged barn doors. Rob immediately told me to get back to the studio and build one before you get sidetracked and forget the idea, so that’s what I did.

1961 Thunderbird Barn Find

1961 Thunderbird Barn Find

My first prototype was of Rob’s ’61 T-Bird. I built a couple more and took them on the road with me. I’ve had a steady stream of commissions coming in to build custom barn-finds for clients ever since. The March 2013 issue of Hemmings Classic Car featured my barn-find paintings (pg. 15) so that’s helped generate additional phone calls and emails with more commissions.

Its funny where ideas come from sometimes.

AA: What was your biggest challenge putting together the first one?

DR: The biggest challenge initially?

Hard to say. The barn-finds I’m making today are nearly identical to the first one I made with a couple minor changes. The first barn-find painting you see on my website (top of page) of a ’61 T-bird is my very first one. Notice the barn doesn’t cover the complete piece of wood its painted on – there’s a bit of sky and landscape showing in the background. I didn’t like that idea after it was made so all of the barns to follow were painted to fill the entire wood facade. Also notice the ’61 T-bird barn’s frame is painted black. I prefer to use a Minwax stained frame on all of my barn-find paintings now.

Other changes from the first prototype were behind the scenes stuff. Like the channel that holds the car-board in the barn. The first one was poorly made on-the-fly so I now have a nice sturdy method of making those channels on my router table.

All of the components are made from templates now (the main 10×18 inch board, barn doors, car-board, frame and car-board channels). That way its quick and easy to produce a new barn for a client. I actually have many of the components cut primed and ready to paint sitting here in the studio. When I get a commission I’ll take notes of what color barn they want (rustic gray or traditional barn red), note on what automotive or petroliana signs they’d like on the outside of the barn as well as anything specific about the car to painted inside the barn.

Coming up with the method of standardizing production and assembly of the barn-find paintings was probably the biggest challenge, which wasn’t really a big deal once I got rolling on the first few. But overall that helped keep the cost reasonable. At a $200 price point many car lover’s are able to own a one-of-a-kind original piece of art. I still have plenty of clients who prefer to spend for a traditional paint on canvas, but these barn-finds have opened up a nice segment of the market for those who don’t have thousands to fork out for a larger canvas type painting.

AA: On some of the Barn Finds it looks like you have incorporated 3d items.

DR: The 3d items are simply painted to give the illusion of depth. Painting shadows on items I want to look as if they’re free-standing helps add to the overall 3d look of the artwork.

1971 Olds Barn Find

1971 Olds Barn Find

AA: So how does someone go about ordering one of your Barn Find Creations?

DR: I just took an order from a gentleman with a ’37 Packard. We spoke on the phone and he explained to me certain aspects on some of the barn examples on my website that he liked and wished to have included on his project. I took notes regarding the style vintage pump he’s like as well as some of the other vintage signs to include. He then sent me a check for $200 (single side car board) and photos of his Packard. Once I complete the painting I’ll package it up and send it to the client.

AA: Any upcoming events/shows you will be attending this year you want people
to know about?

DR: The Spring Carlisle event at the end of April (24th-28th) will be the next big show. The Elegance at Hershey, which is normally in June. Over the Fall Hershey week the AACA Museum will usually have an automotive art show in the rotunda featuring about a half dozen artists exhibiting which I’m normally a part of. I’m exhibiting my artwork almost every weekend throughout the season and will continue updating my show calendar on my website as dates become available.

Dan Reed would like to thank Dan Reed for taking the time to do this interview. You can see more of Dan’s Barn Finds along with other artwork on his website:

If you are an artist listed at and would like to be interviewed please contact us.

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