Tucked back on a dirt road in the foothills near Hygiene, a sunflower-covered grain silo looms on the horizon.
The silo is on private property, hidden by surrounding farmland in the roll and swell of the Front Range, but can be seen from the right angle. The eleven hand-painted sunflowers that dot the silo have a story, according to painter Don Faast. The sunflowers on the silo are a sweet memento for a family.
Faast, just shy of 77, lives in Phoenix, AZ now – he said he got tired of the cold – but was born in Montrose and lived in Boulder County for years. He’s been hand painting signs for more than 40 years with his business, Incredibly Faast, from billboards and window signs to fast food logos. Along the way, Faast managed to paint a couple silos still seen in Longmont.
“I still do it the old way, signs by hand the way it was done for several hundred years,” Faast said.
Faast’s most visible work can’t be missed - the 60 foot silo looms over CO 119 at the corner of Hover Road, a red, white and blue Oskar Blues beer can that can be seen for miles. Faast picked up the contract from another sign company because the work had to be done by hand and he was one of the only ones in the area still doing it, he said. Faast painted the whole silo by hand on a 60 foot boom lift over a summer month in 2009.
Faast said the sunflower silo came by way of the Oskar Blues project. The property owner out in Hygiene saw an article about Faast in the news and had hired Faast for work previously, so he approached the painter about adding some artwork to the grain silo on his property. Faast got the boom lift out to the property and tried to keep the work as much as he could toward the warmer part of the winter days.
“I did the sunflower in January or February, which was horrible,” Faast said. “Trying to do that job in January was stupid.”
Painting the sunflower silo took Faast around a month of work to finish the first time around. For both of the large-scale projects, Faast used templates. Oskar Blues provided a digitally created and printed template for him to use, but for the sunflowers he developed a paper template for himself. Using a grid that represented the silo, Faast worked one square at time to get the sunflowers just right.
Faast originally painted five sunflowers, one for each child in the family that owns the property. This past July, Faast came back to Hygiene to add six more flowers to represent the grandchildren of the family.