Talented Miss Red

In October 2023, American Connection4 MinutesBy Rod SimmondsNovember 26, 2023

We meet Miss Flatbed Red, an American artist with a love of all things trucking.

Social media has brought the world’s population closer, and thanks to the likes of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, there is no hiding anything among the trucking fraternity. Mainly, it has been of great benefit, connecting people of similar interests. And that’s how we got to sit down with Miss Flatbed Red (missflatbed.red) in Reno, Nevada.

If you look at photos posted online of the regular truck shows all over the United States – or as you may have seen in some of the many videos on her YouTube channel – Miss Flatbed Red will be there. Red had travelled 2200 miles (3500km) over two and a half days to get from home in Findlay, Ohio, to Reno as part of the AHTS Convention and Truck Show.

She had just appeared on the local TV channel promoting the show, and in true American fashion, with a coffee and breakfast burrito, we met at Starbucks. Web pages, YouTube and internet searches can only explain so much, but the lost art of conversation is the only way to understand how people tick. Red is a delight and is soon joined by her husband Chris, who, as we find out, is a trucker through and through and got Red into the scene.

Red is an accomplished musician – trumpet is the weapon of choice. She studied in London, teaches music and was – until Covid-19 hit the world – an up-and-coming designer and social media professional with the local newspaper. With Covid, the music lessons had to move online (not very practicable for young students), and eventually, the newspaper shut down.

So Red had to do something, and her hand-drawn ‘rendering’ portraits of houses, pets, cars and the like started the fledgling business. The number of commissions began to increase, and Red decided they needed a catchy name… ‘flatbed’ was available, and it was catchy and fitted the future plans.

The artist with one of her first commissions, this Peterbilt hay haulier for Cunningham Brothers.

Interestingly, the truck drawings were a secondary thought, only starting after she had been dragged along to the MATS Louisville Truck Show in 2017, where an exhibitor asked for a drawing of his show truck. From that start, Red’s venture has grown to commissions being sent worldwide, including to New Zealand and Australia, even if the shipping cost is sometimes more than the actual artwork.

Red now travels around the main US truck shows, most are typically held in spring and summer, and is now a truck devotee. Her involvement with AHTS started with some design of promotional material, but now includes all the design work on the show’s posters, marketing and promotion.

The rendering takes many hours, and as Red says, “Lucky I charge by the inch and not the hour!” Some take up to 40 hours, others 15, and many somewhere in between. They really are pieces of art.”

Red currently has many commissions in the pipeline. After each truck show, she gets more work. So, between music lessons, travelling and her activity on social media, life is extremely busy.

And just like that, an hour or more passed effortlessly – talking trucks, talking drivers and the old buggers still truckin’. No matter where in the world you are, the subjects are the same.