Imperial talks golf, art and visual communication with Lee Wybranski leading up to the 2019 U.S. Open Championship.
This year’s 119th U.S. Open will be Lee’s 12th consecutive year painting the U.S. Open Championship poster. However, this will be the first year that Lee’s iconic work will be featured on a championship t-shirt. The artwork exposes breathtaking views of the Monterey Bay on one of the most famous finishing holes in golf.
As one of the premier artists in the golf industry, Lee Wybranski has been commissioned to create drawings and paintings for many of the finest clubs and organizations of the game, including the USGA.
Imperial caught up with Lee to hear about his process and how art and golf have harmoniously merged. Shop the T-shirt and all of the U.S. Open hats, visors and accessories from Imperial. Thanks to Lee for taking the time to answer our questions!
Imperial: How would you describe your artistic style?
LW: It’s a combination of a few of my strongest influences – including classic posters and a few favorite painters – with my own individual twist.
Imperial: What’s it like to see your work on a t-shirt rather than a canvas or poster?
LW: I think it works great on a t-shirt because like the poster, it is intended to be not merely artwork but visual communication.
Imperial: Can you talk us through your process for making a piece such as the 2019 U.S. Open Championship artwork? What are some of your favorite details about this piece?
LW: I generally select two to three iconic views to work with and then narrow it to one. This year’s course is one of the few courses in the world with arguably half a dozen famous holes. We eventually selected the 18th because in addition to be the greatest finishing hole in golf, this view also allows us the see the ocean, the cove, sailboats, the 17th hole and the bunkers along the sixth hole. I personally love the sailboats.
Imperial: What inspired you or why do you love making pieces in which the subject is golf?
LW: I have been making pictures for fun throughout my childhood and then as a profession since art school. It’s just something that I innately enjoy – trying to bring a scene to life in a painting.
Imperial: Do you play? What do you love about the game?
LW: Yes I do play, but it was work that brought me to the game rather than the other way around. I love so much about the game – you play it outside across a swath of land, exposed to the elements – yet so much of the game is interior. I love to walk and I love that a round of golf is like a hike or a journey that often leads you through a beautiful landscape. And like any other golfer, I love the well struck shot and holing a long double-breaker.