News: Neillsville - ‘HOG’
Corner’s Mural Disguising Damage to Barn (2022)
Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
Surnames: Johnson, Conrad
----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 11/09/2022
‘HOG’ Corner’s Mural Disguising Damage to Barn (2022)
Craig Johnson (right) points the finger at who he considers the mastermind of this grand project, Billy Conrad. The pair worked around a busy schedule and considerable damage to the barn’s road-facing wall to complete a mural that has been catching the eye of motorists passing by for about a month now. Edward DuBois/Clark County Press
The intersections of country roads H, O and G, affectionately known as “HOG,” is home to Craig Johnson and his bike and memorabilia shop. The property had plenty of history to it that Tessman respects. Though the general store no longer stands, torn down in the mid-80s, there is a metal barn.
A barn that was recently hit by an Amish buggy which tore up the side facing the road.
Once the proverbial smoke had cleared, it got Johnson thinking one sleepless night. He wanted something that would cover the damage, but also draw the eye of travelers. He thought about old western scenes and the coaches drawn in them, much like the one that had hit the barn. With the HOG and Harleys coming around the area, he decided to incorporate an idea, also subtly advertising to the community his other passion, his hobby-turned-business model: his bike shop.
A friend, Billy Conrad, and Craig collaborated on the mural. It took about a month to complete, due to things like sunlight pouring on the metal siding for hours at a time, making it too hot to touch or paint, and Tessman had to adjust working on it around his work schedule.
Johnson said he had never taken on an endeavor on this scale before. Nor had Conrad, Johnson’s friend and a painter, who Johnson admitted he paled in vision to. Conrad has been painting his whole life, and while Johnson had a general idea of what he wanted, it was Conrad who had the mind for the image, able to envision every detail.
One challenge the pair faced was working around the damage the buggy crash had caused to the side of the barn. A section of wall had to be replaced outright, and a mark left over from the buggy’s wheel needed to be painted over, but the pair rose to the occasion to see Johnson’s passion fulfilled.
In the month since the mural’s completion, Johnson said the response to it had been really good, especially online, like when an image of it was posted on Wisconsin Motorcycle Riders on Facebook.
The ‘HOG’ Corners mural depicts Craig Johnson riding a stagecoach pulled along by three cycles, carrying his trusted companion beside him and his stepchildren, Lotus and Jeremy, riding toward where the old hardware store used to stand. Behind the barn is Johnson’s bike and Memorabilia shop. Edward DuBois/Clark County Press
People have stopped to take photos with it, including some out-of-state visitors. One lady was from the UK, England, and New Zealand. The mural is pointing to where the general store used to be, paying homage to it and allowing Johnson to fill visitors in about the corner’s history.
The neighbors like it, too. As Johnson and Conrad cleaned up the yard, repairs to the barn’s roof completed that morning, those who drove by and honked their horns or rolled down their windows to call out, “I like it!”
Beside the barn, Johnson runs his shop, where he works on bikes and sells things like T-shirts. Customers can shop there whether or not they have a bike worked on.
Reporter Edward DuBois contributed to this article.
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