A show featuring renowned golf artist Lee Wybranski at the Southampton Cultural Center from June 7 to June 30 will coincide with the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.
As his most extensive exhibit to date with more than 40 pieces, Wybranski will offer images of his famed traditional golf work, such as his celebrated 11th consecutive U.S. Open poster, and a Shinnecock original. In addition to his recognized works will be an abstract series depicting golf holes.
The Philadelphia native has created commissioned artworks for the likes of the USGA and the PGA of America. He’s worked with private clubs like National Golf Links of America and businesses including Polo Ralph Lauren, with his work featured on the Golf Channel, CNN, and Golf Talk Live. From his easel on the greens to his inside studio, Wybranski continues to craft his passion around the course.
What made you start painting these landscapes? Why golf?
I started with architectural drawings for private estates and small institutions around Philadelphia right after I graduated from art school. I was trying to figure out how to grow the business and approach new markets, so I thought of taking the same kind of a service — very fine, beautiful pen and ink architectural drawings — to a place where people had an emotional attachment to buildings. That was the initial trail of thought.
What I came up with at the time was universities. Alumni love their home college. Then it was golf and country clubs, many of which are known for beautiful clubhouses, and people have a strong connection of membership to these places.
I just thought this was a neat thing to explore. I showed the portfolio to a number of the best clubs around New York City. That project led to a number of others pretty quickly, including the Atlantic Golf Club in Bridgehampton. All of a sudden, I was a golf artist.
What’s the first thing you notice when deciding to paint?
It depends on the project. I consider the poster to be a different animal than the traditional landscape painting. Landscapes rely more on detail and general vistas. With posters, I try to identify the two or three main characters of the place and also the championship. With the U.S. Open at Shinnecock, it’s about the U.S. Open but also Shinnecock, so both need to be dramatically represented in the artwork.
From venue to venue, project to project, I create a composition that allows all these elements to be included in a way that feels balanced and visually appealing and uncluttered. I like to focus all the attention on the things that are most important and leave a lot of open space in between when I can. At Shinnecock, a focus on the clubhouse was decided very early on in my discussions with the USGA. To the general golfing public, visually the thing they know is the clubhouse.
What’s your favorite U.S. Open painting?
I’d say Torrey Pines [in La Jolla, California] in 2008. It was my first one — a gorgeous venue right next to the Pacific Ocean. It was a great event, with Tiger Woods winning in a playoff on a broken leg. The painting was a runaway hit. I got on the local news. It was a surprise success, not knowing what to expect that first year.
Out of all the golf courses you’ve seen, which is a must-visit for avid golfers?
Painting St. Andrews in Scotland, working with The Old Course, is a goosebumps experience. If you’re an artist doing what I do, you can’t really do any better. Anyone who really loves the game should certainly visit once. It’s a magical place.
Domestically, one of my favorites is Fisher’s Island, off the coast of Long Island, once called the Pebble Beach of the East. It’s virtually untouched, so it’s like going back in time.
Architecturally, the course is fantastic. Scenery wise, you can’t beat it. Within the world of golf, there’s a return to a simple, natural, and pure links experience.
Southampton Cultural Center is located at 25 Pond Lane in Southampton. An artist’s reception will be held on Saturday, June 9, at 7 PM.
Visit www.leewybranski.com to learn more or call 928-310-2152.