Sunday, April 12, 2009

My 2009 US Open Posters, Bethpage BLACK Course



Visit my golf art web site, sasgolf.com to purchase signed, limited edition prints. 

When not busy with my illustration career work load (creating graphic images for magazines, advertising campaigns, newspapers, product packaging, books, children's books, etc...) which is usually all of the time, I also find the time to create personal works just for myself... many are images on the game of golf. 

As you can see by my golf prints shown here (©2009 Steven Anthony Salerno), these images are not created in the same whimsical style seen in my usual commercial illustration work that art directors recognize and depend on... (to see all my illustration portfolio samples, visit stevensalerno.com) ... but rather in a more realistic, graphic poster style: 

I start with many b&w pencil sketches on paper, then edit them down to one final composition, followed by executing a tighter, final sketch. During these sketch stages I simultaneously develop the poster's type design as well, integrating it in tandem with the image composition. Next I redraw the image on my digital Wacom drawing tablet using Adobe Illustrator software, building the image slowly in layers, and making all the color decisions as I go along, and determining the type font and placement. 

With my regularly commissioned illustration assignments, I am always working as quickly as possible because of the short deadlines. (and also because I normally have several assignments going on at once!) However, with these golf images, since I am creating them just for myself without a deadline, I take my time and do not complete the poster image until I am entirely satisfied with it. 

In June of this year, the 109th playing of the United States Golf Association Open Championship will be conducted at the notoriously difficult Bethpage Black Course in Farmingdale, New York. (The US Open was last played there back in 2002, which Tiger Woods won.) 

The official 2009 US Open poster the USGA had already commissioned for the upcoming event in June, I felt, missed the mark in terms of reflecting the bold character and psychology of the Black Course at Bethpage. Their official poster is well executed, but fits into a "charming" visual category, sort of like a nostalgic, quaint, Currier & Ives print... In my opinion, despite the fact that the course was designed back in the '30's, there is nothing remotely quaint about the psychology of the Black Course. It is a brute of a golf course that makes even the best of players in the world crumble, and thus deserves a matching bold poster! 

So, just for the fun of it, back in January, I decided to make my own poster for the tournament, and I ended up creating seven different posters (only five of the seven are shown here). I also feel that the majority of “Tiger Woods/Anthony Kim generation” fans, who will be looking to purchase a memento of the event from the merchandising tent during the week of the US Open at Bethpage, will more likely prefer to buy a contemporary poster which reflects the imposing boldness of the Black Course, and not a quiet, quaint poster image. 

The top poster: depicts a competitor hitting his tee shot at the downhill par three eighth hole with the gallery watching. (beneath is a detail view of player) 

The 2nd poster: depicts a ground-level view of a typical A.W. Tillinghast bunkering complex at the Black Course, which the players will try to avoid during the US Open. Tillinghast is the famed golf architect who designed the course in the 1930's. (beneath is a detail view of bunker) 

The 3rd poster: is a bold, stylized image of a golf ball, with the course seen low in the background, and in front is the famous "warning sign" declaring how difficult the Black Course is to play, which really does exist on the first tee there. (beneath is detail view of course in the background) 

The 4th poster: is a wide format panorama poster showing the second shot at the part five, fourth hole. This is my favorite image. It is bold, elegant and the type design is "in your face" just like the real course is. In the small screen shot posted here, one cannot see the quality of this image. (beneath is detail view of player) 

The 5th poster: is a theatrical, label-like symmetrical view of a silhouetted player hitting a shot to a distant green. (beneath is detail view of player silhouette) 

The real impact of all these poster images cannot be fully appreciated unless one sees them in their full 17" x 22" and 24"x 36" size. Seeing them in these small screen samples just does not do them justice. 

The 6th poster is one I recently created for the 64th Women's USGA Open Championship, which is being held at the Saucon Valley (Old Course) in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in July 2009. 

After completing these posters, on a whim, in February 2009 I contacted and presented a few of the US Open/Bethpage posters to the Executive Director of the USGA, David B. Fay, as well as to the USGA Director of Licensing, Mary Lopuszynski. I briefly expressed that one of my posters could be added to their list of merchandising items for the Bethpage US Open event as an "unofficial" poster... to give the golf fans a choice in poster selection at the merchandising tent. (Personally, I feel my poster would out sell any other poster) Mary Lopuszynski did reply, stating that the USGA had already selected and produced all their merchandising items for the 2009 US Open event. In other words, I was too late. Oh well. No harm done... and it was a nice way to introduce myself to the USGA. 

Subsequently I contacted Tim Carr, the current art director of LINKS magazine. Tim and I met when he was the art director at GOLF magazine and we played a round together at the Split Rock golf course in New York. I showed him a few of these 2009 US Open/Bethpage posters I created, and since his magazine will be creating a feature article about the upcoming 2009 US Open at Bethpage, he is contemplating commissioning one or more of my poster images for that magazine issue. (He would use versions of the image(s) without the text) 

So, now I am already working on my 2010 version of the US Open poster (being held at the Pebble Beach golf links on the Monterey Peninsula, in California) just for the fun of it, of course, but maybe it will also find it's way over to the USGA! 

(You can see a previous posting of some other personal golf art images by clicking here.)


1 comment:

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