Photography by Brian Tietz

Features


Taking a Swing

With vibrant brushstrokes of color and found objects, artist Christopher Obetz’s Pop Art Golf series presents a fresh take on the sport.

Nearly two decades ago, multimedia artist Christopher Obetz hit the jackpot when he stopped inside a New York City gallery on a walk with his dog. In its back room, behind the exhibition of impressionist and Renaissance paintings, he found thousands of works by the late illustrator Anthony Ravielli, whose acclaimed depictions of golfers in motion graced the pages of the sport’s most celebrated guides. “I thought, ‘My God, this is like the holy grail of golf instruction,’” the Fort Myers-based artist says. A lifelong golfer, he had first encountered Ravielli’s work as an 8 year old, when his grandfather gave him the book Five Lessons: Modern Fundamentals of Golf. With exacting detail, the drawings inside beautifully illustrated the techniques for a perfect swing, grip and stance. Although the illustrations in that Madison Avenue gallery were already promised to a Texas auction house, the artist was able to plead his case and convinced the gallerist to let him buy the works instead. “Golf is in my DNA,” Obetz says. Not only had Obetz’s great-uncle helped bring the Ryder Cup to the U.S., but his father also was best man at 73-time PGA tour winner Jack Nicklaus’ wedding. The gallerist couldn’t say no. That
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