We had the good fortune of connecting with Audrey Sayles and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Audrey, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I am from Seibert, CO. I grew up with my two sisters on a farm south of town where we helped our parents. Since our dad didn’t have any sons, we were raised bucket feeding calves, cleaning grain bins, driving tractor, and any other job he could find for us. Through all of this, from an early age my parents pushed hard work and how it pays off, that nothing is ever handed to you and that you have to take risks to get what you want. My mom is a teacher and my dad is a farmer. He has worked hard to adapt to the ever changing world and is a leader in the regenerative ag community. This has not been easy as he has been looked down on by neighbors, been the talk of the town until other adopt his practices. It made him an outsider. But he kept course because he had faith and confidence. I have always loved art, but never thought that it could be a part time job, even a career as I wanted to live in a rural area. I know that seeing my parents financially struggle at times as a teacher and farmer I didn’t want to face those same challenges, but I also saw them work had and push through tough times. I really admire them and the generations of farmers who have made it work. Living in a small town is not just a commitment to a job. But it is a commitment to each other to help and support. When I think about how this impacts me as an adult and in this job, I think that this is a major reason we are successful. There is no jealousy there is no competition between us. We are on a mission to bring art out of these small communities and we can do that by working hard and supporting people to get out and try new things. If one of us can’t get something right on a project the other steps in.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think that one thing that sets us apart in our location is that we are the only group of the large scale mural artists. I think that for our small communities they spend money much differently than in urban areas. So when they choose to do community projects, mostly because of budgets, items selected usually are more for need than for want. Once, we have broken into the scene and people realized how much they enjoy art we have really taken off. I also think that this gives us a position to speak for our communities. Unlike other artists, typically we create a message that our customers want to say, rather than just getting to paint what we want. Sometimes this is a challenge, but to give people that we care about a voice. We have arrived in our 4th year of painting through the grace of God and the unwavering support from our friends, family, and communities. This has been a blast and the murals just keep coming in. Our main challenge is finding a balance between our full time jobs as teachers and mom, and our “part time” job of murals. We are finding ways to get work done but maintaining the balance that this is a passion not necessity. And that is for sure one of the biggest lessons we have learned. We never have seen ourselves are true professionals because we are constantly growing, learning, and adapting. I am so lucky to get to paint with not only my cousin, but someone who truly supports me and encourages me. This isn’t our full time job and right now we love that because we keep the idea that this is fulfilling and this is a passion. We never want it to be just work. What we want the world to take from us is that anyone can create art. It doesn’t have to look like a masterpiece, or something on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. But find a way to express yourself. Maybe it is art, maybe it’s baking, maybe it’s whatever. But, find something to care about and be passionate about. We live in a society that it is so easy to compare ourselves to others and it allows us to quit even before we start because of fear or maybe you don’t think you are good enough. We just don’t think that is true. We have found that allowing ourselves to create, be free to enjoy moments of creating is so powerful.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Eastern Colorado has so much to offer! Within the little town of Limon, we have a wonderful Heritage Museum, walking paths, and wildlife sanctuary. Something that everyone here is used to is a little driving so hop in your car and head to Hugo just down the road. You can visit a rare and historic round house. Go to a country music concert at the fair and catch a great rodeo or demolition derby. Their main street also has a whiskey distillery, and antique/consignment shop that is ridiculously cute. Genoa, right north, has a Ripley’s Believe it or Not tower and museum. Down the road to Stratton they have an incredible bed and breakfast called the Claremont, that has its own winery. Something else to consider is agro-tourism. There are agriculture conferences being held to learn about the exciting things happening in farming such as regenerative ag. Meet farmers, talk to them about the exciting things they are doing. Go visit a farm, ride a tractor.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Staci and Kayla for pushing me to continue this passion and all the growth I’ve experienced. For my friends and family for their continuous support.