It’s not unusual for an old barn to be reinvigorated by painting a mural on its broad walls. We’ve all seen the old Mail Pouch Tobacco murals that dot the countryside using barns as their canvas.
But in Cameron, North Carolina, a town built upon tobacco farming, the barns take on an entirely different look.
It’s all thanks to New York-based artist David Ellis, who grew up in Cameron and had fond memories of its pastoral agrarian scenery. To pay homage to the place that helped form his own sentiments, Ellis invited a group of artists from New York and Tokyo to paint murals on aging tobacco barns in 1999.
The group was lovingly nicknamed “The Barnstormers” by local residents, which was a nickname they accepted and wore with pride. But their purview wasn’t limited to barns. Farming equipment and tractor trailers were also riotously decorated with The Barnstormers’ signature graffiti and modern-style art.
Today, the colorful depictions that speckle the farmland are just as vibrant as when the project began, but the locals have gotten a lot more used to them–and it doesn’t hurt that visitors now come from towns near and far to see the unique scenery in Cameron.