Born in a Barn

I started painting signs in the mid 1980's out of an unheated barn in a junk yard with no running water. Rent was $25.00 per month.  Business was good and I traveled around the state painting store front  windows, pin-striping at car shows and sandblasting redwood signs. After a few years, I was enticed by indoor plumbing and heat, and in 1987 I moved my shop into Granville, stopped painting signs and began doing illustrations and picture framing. The new business was named Kussmaul Gallery.  

I spend most days now creating oil paintings of Midwestern landscapes and agricultural scenes that have become my trademark. In early 2017, I had an idea to combine the agricultural imagery that inspires my oil paintings, with the craftsmanship of a hand painted sign. 

Inspired by

James Young Signs draw upon the agricultural history of the Midwest. The unique designs are reminiscent of vintage advertisements. Many of the signs are built from salvaged antique barn boards, re-purposed into the finished product you see here. Other signs are painted onto coated pine for a cleaner look.


The finished signs are distressed and weathered to allow the authentic feel of the antique wood to show through. Although an icon or slogan may appear more than once, no two signs are ever the same. I do not use stenciling, or vinyl stickers when creating these signs, instead relying on the time tested art of hand lettering with a brush.  Each sign you see here is a one-of-a-kind, custom designed  piece of art.

Thanks for looking!