WATSEKA, Ill. — Historic events a week apart got graphic artist Craig Massey’s creative juices flowing, but instead of transferring his feelings onto canvass he used a grain bin.
Massey’s grain bin on the fourth-generation family farm northeast of Crescent City now sports the Chicago Cubs logo with “2016 World Series Champions.”
Another side of the bin highlights the U.S. Constitution, the Bible, Abraham Lincoln and the silhouette of a soldier kneeling at a cross.
The idea of a Cub logo on the family grain bin wasn’t planned. It just worked out that way for the lifelong fan of the North Siders.
“When they made it to the World Series, I actually started it as a joke. I took a picture of the bin with nothing on it and superimposed the Cubs logo onto the bin using my computer, and as a joke to another friend, I posted it on Facebook,” Massey said.
“Everybody started seeing it and sharing it and saying they wanted to come out and see it, and I kind of freaked out and decided that night to draw it on and the next morning I painted it.”
It took him about nine hours to paint the logo, and when the Cubs sealed the deal Nov. 2 to take home the World Series championship in extra innings, Massey, who owns and operates Massey Design that’s based on this farmstead, put on the finishing touches.
“I actually did that late at night after they won because I couldn’t sleep anyway,” he said.
Massey was able to share the joy of the Cubs championship run with his 90-year-old grandfather who also is a lifelong fan.
“Unfortunately, my dad passed away in beginning of the summer, so he didn’t get to experience it with us. I never thought it would even happen in my lifetime. It was just amazing, awesome,” Massey said.
Hundreds of visitors have stopped by to get photos of the bin.
“There’d be groups of seven or eight individuals coming out. Actually, a guy that did the electrical work on this bin when it was put up and is probably in his early to mid-90s came and got his picture taken by it,” Massey said.
“Tons of fans from different areas have stopped. It’s fun to listen to all of their stories and how they shared the experiences over the years of the loveable losers with their families and all that.
“We even had several Cardinal fans that came out with their wives who were Cubs fans. I couldn’t believe how many of those there were.”
One Nation Under God
Passers-by may think the newest bin art is a commentary about the Nov. 8 election, but the meaning is much deeper and expresses Massey’s beliefs about our country.
It took him 10 to 12 hours to complete the work, particularly due to the details of Abraham Lincoln. He put on the final touches on Election Day morning.
“I had a lot of thoughts and prayers after the Cubs did their thing, and I started focusing on the election. I’m not a big political guy. As a country, we need to focus on rights and wrongs and not necessarily on the two people that were running, so I just felt like I needed to get out on the bin what was inside of me,” Massey said.
“You could start with the soldier kneeling at the cross. This country exists, our freedoms exist, because of those soldiers who have gone to war fighting for our freedom, and we need to appreciate that.
“Ultimately, my hope wouldn’t have been in Hillary Clinton. It’s not going to be in Donald Trump. It’s going to be in God and Christ alone, and that’s what that means to me. The ‘we the people’ on it, obviously our constitution, is being attacked day by day. That really bothers me.
“This country was founded on Christian beliefs, and it was founded on everything you see in the constitution, the amendments and everything. Lincoln is on there because he’s one of my favorite presidents. I think he stands for a lot of things.
“Most of all, he stands for honesty, and that’s something we’re not seeing a whole lot of these days. Also he respected the constitution, and I have a lot of respect for that man.
“The rest is a Bible verse (Isaiah 40:29) that just kind of sticks out to me. The ‘make America great again’ part, it’s not going to be Trump that does it — it’s going to be God.”
Massey grew up on the farm operated by his father and grandfather and moved away after high school to study computer architecture at Kankakee Community College. After a stint at a T-shirt screen printing company in Champaign, his grandfather asked him to come back to the farm and gave him a building to refurbish and turn into a graphic design studio to house his own business when he was 19.
He now designs T-shirts for area schools and is contracted by the National FFA. He also does custom artwork and also has done murals for churches, schools and other groups.
Massey has since purchased the seven acres the homestead sits on and his grandfather cash rents the adjoining farmland.
“I grew up a farmer. I’m not really a farmer now, but I definitely appreciate what goes into farming because I did it for many years,” he said.