It’s easy to see something online that you want. It’s not so easy to make it yourself. For Jeremiah Logemann of Madison, he saw a piece of art he wanted for his home but couldn’t afford it. It was a barnwood flag behind Wisconsin native JJ Watts, NFL Defensive Player of the Year trophy. Logemann said, “I wanted it really bad.”
So, Jeremiah started knocking on farmers’ doors until he had the gray, the red and the white wood to make the flag. He made it one night and posted it on social media. Jeremiah said, “It took off almost actually literally overnight.” Orders from family and friends started pouring in. Jeremiah says he made that flag with zero training and started with zero tools. Now he reclaims barns and uses every bit of that wood in artwork. Logemann said, “I can smell the dairy barn when I cut the wood from a milking parlor, and I can smell the tobacco when I cut that wood from a tobacco barn. It takes Jeremiah about 250 hours to dismantle a barn piece by piece.
Maps and images of Wisconsin traditions soon followed. Jeremiah said, “We’re a unique group of people and we love Wisconsin. I’ve always been big into history. I’ve always been big into the bigger story.” These barns were hand built by someone in the twenties or the thirties or the 1890s by someone’s grandfather or uncle or brother or themselves. And that story is important to a lot of people.
Jeremiah tries to keep those stories alive by putting as much information about the original farm along with a photo on the back of his art.
He seeks out the stories from old farmers. Farmers like Ron Nordeng. Ron built one of the barns with his Uncle Pete and his father. It was going to be bulldozed for development until Jeremiah came in and dismantled it piece-by-piece. So, it turned out that Jeremiah used almost Ron’s entire barn to build a tasting room at State Line Distillery. He also created giant maps at True Coffee in Monona.
Jeremiah has created dozens of works unique to Wisconsin, “It’s super cliche to say, make your passion, your job and never work again a day in your life. Gosh, I love the fact that I can come to work and do something like that.”