The love of art not only springs from talent and education, but also from the drive to get better in what you love to do through practicing and pursuing goals.
Haley Spradlin, native to Duncan, continues to pursue her art in many areas, from small town to city art.
From growing up in Duncan and living in the community for 18 years, Spradlin learned all about the arts from local art teacher, Jennifer Steil, who owns Cedar Cove Studio.
Throughout life, Spradlin found memories from her childhood help her create special and momentous art pieces.
"I have also found that the things that caught my eye when I was a kid find their way into my artwork now ... carousel horses at Kiddieland, lava lamp shapes from the lights in my childhood bedroom and confetti and pennants from birthday parties, to name a few," Spradlin said.
When Spradlin took her art classes from Steil, she learned several life lessons she still uses today.
“(Steil) taught me lessons I still use all the time," Spradlin said. "Just this week, I had the opportunity to pass along some of her advice: 'Draw what you see, ... not what you assume you see.'"
One of the most frequents lessons Spradlin uses is drawing what encourages you.
"Drawing what you see encourages you to look carefully at what’s in front of you," Spradlin said. "So it helps you get proportions, placement, lighting, and coloring just right."
Since Spradlin’s term in Duncan, she now owns her own studio and teaches art.
"Since I own my own graphic design studio, I have Jennifer Steil’s fun teaching style to thank for providing a such creative outlet in a small town," Spradlin said. "Art has always been part of my life, so it’s interesting to see how it changes shape all the time through different media and styles I try."
Spradlin has taken many notes from the small-town life and brought them into her future business endeavors.
"Also, as a business practice, I’ve taken notes from a small-town perspective of just doing the best work you can and letting satisfied customers do the advertising for you," Spradlin said.
As many students graduate high school this year, there's so many directions and choices they have to make in the world, and at times the decisions can be overwhelming.
Spradlin said, "do what makes you feel alive.”
“Success can come from anywhere if you’re passionate about what you’re doing,” she said.
Since Spradlin owns her own graphic design business, this allows her to be an adjunct professor at the College of Design at UCO and teach her passion.
"My business specializes in custom logo and branding design as well as indoor and outdoor murals," Spradlin said.
On constantly learning, Spradlin loves how she can have fun while learning.
"I loved that we all got better while having fun," Spradlin said. "Jennifer introduced us to these amazing, high-quality fine art supplies that I would have likely been too intimidated to try as an adult. She gave us experience so early, we didn’t know to be intimidated yet! She cultivated a freeing and fun atmosphere, and she taught us how to be better artists – win-win!"
According to Spradlin, she owes a lot of her accomplishments to those who have taught her lessons such as Steil, her parents, and her design professors at UCO. These influences have had major influences on her life as an artist and person.
"So many people and things have influenced my art," Spradlin said. "I used to sleep with a lot of strange lights in my room as a kid — UFO lights, lava lamps, tornado lamps, etc. — and honestly, I see those shapes and lines show up in my artwork even now. I love the incredible use of lines and space by Jessica Hische, the fun, celebratory vibes of Kindah Kalidy and Jordan Ferney, the discipline and detail of Seurat, and the realism of Rembrandt."
Barb Spradlin, Children's Minister at Immanuel Church and Haley’s mother, said she loves seeing the full circle effect the small businesses have on kids at they grow up at pave their own way.
"A small business that began as a shop in Jennifer's home has expanded not only into a full business for herself — that has been restricted because of pandemic — but to probably many young adults pursuing their own career because of one person in Duncan, who wanted to share her love and creativity with young art students in our community," her mother said.
As well as teaching art, Haley Spradlin came back to her hometown and painted the wall murals for Immanuel Baptist Church.
According to Barb Spradlin, Haley began art classes with Steil at around five or six years old.
"Jennifer was instrumental in taking Haley's early art love," Barb Spradlin said. "(She) really helped her learn techniques and a deeper love for different mediums of art."
From starting out at a young age, Spradlin's accomplished many goals as well as working towards more.
"She has done design work for TEDx Talks, designed and painted a 400-foot mural in OKC at Classen Curve," Barb Spradlin said.
Among many activities, Spradlin was apart of the Reflections Show Choir, DHS theatre, volleyball, pom, and tennis, "though I never was able to impress Coach Barnes with my mediocre skills,” she said.
As well as school activities, Spradlin's church, Immanuel Baptist, played a large part of her upbringing as well.
After high school, Spradlin graduated from OU with a degree in Communication, as well as graduating from UCO with a degree in Graphic Design.
Still maintaining connection with many locals, Spradlin's family remains in the area.
"I visit my parents (Mark and Barb Spradlin) often and it’s fun to come back and see how the town has changed over the years and what special things have stayed the same," Spradlin said.
When it comes down to loving what you do, success in your field depends on your outlook on life and what your work means to you and how you're going to accomplish it.
"Doing the best work I know how to do has inadvertently become my main marketing strategy (smile)," Spradlin said. "Treating people well is important to me, so my business operates almost entirely on word-of-mouth advertising alone."
As Spradlin learned her technique growing up, she learned success isn't measured by money, but by working hard and meeting challenges.
"I learned from watching my family that a strong work ethic coupled with enthusiasm can take you far," Spradlin said. "That doesn’t always mean financial success, but really, that’s not the point. I love the feeling of meeting challenges and seeing the progressive improvement that comes with accomplishing goals."
For more information, questions and to connect with Spradlin on social media, visit her on Instagram and TikTok at @heysprad or at www.HaleySpradlin.co, or call 580-656-5799 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.