“CR is an acclaimed Pop Artist who’s taking the golf world by storm”
- Jack and Barbara Nicklaus
Mixed media artist,
CR, Christopher Robin Obetz
Growing up in Columbus, Ohio, in the 1970s, CR experienced the original genius of Roy Lichtenstien’s “Brushstrokes in Flight.” An advocate for public art, CR successfully lobbied for its installation on grounds of the Columbus Airport, signifying the growth of an emerging city.
Years later, CR would come to know and collaborate with Vito Giallo; Pop Art Icon and Founder, Andy Warhol’s first studio assistant and best friend. The two artists collaborated in their Brooklyn studios and townhouse. Based on CR’s mixed media assemblage vision, combining their talents, they created a series of large-scale collages celebrating the found object.
He majored in art history at Kenyon College, where he discovered his love for photography. As the young photographer shot urinals, soup cans and other mundane objects images of abandonment, as he called them, the motto “forgotten beauty found” emerged as a guiding philosophy in his work that continues today.
Forgotten Beauty Found - The Philosophy Behind His Works
Abandonment starts each process followed by a sense of rescue and repurposing.
Being “found” is CR’s initial contribution to what becomes his own personal creative process.
“I see beauty in things that are lost and forgotten and passed up, abandoned, overlooked,” says Obetz
From finding boxes of cameras, a Chair in Havana, discarded objects from scrap yards, CR revives these things as works of art and objects of importance and celebration.
This process of rescuing is inspired by his own recovery as a childhood survivor of sexual assault.
His practice of “what I see in my art and what I want to say about myself is that the work is about hope,” he says. “I want to reach people who need to know that they are beautiful and bring hope to everything I do.”
It is a matter of how one envisions what they are discovering and how he could tell their story in new ways.
“Golf is in my DNA”
A lifelong golfer, he had first encountered Ravielli’s work as an 8 year old, when his grand- father 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.
Golf is ingrained in Obetz’s family history. His great-uncle helped bring the Ryder Cup to the United States and his dad was the best man at Jack Nicklaus’ wedding.
That chance encounter was the genesis of Pop Art Golf, a body of work that Obetz began in 2018 and in which he reworks Ravielli’s black-and- white illustrations, altering their scale, adding new materials and tracing the dynamism of the golfer’s swing with splatters and washes of color.
Through his own vision of Forgotten Beauty Found, CR continues the legacy and tradition of modern Pop Artists in his series POP ART GOLF.
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.
“When I see an object or in the case of the original unseen drawings of Anthony Ravielli being set aside, a sense of rescue comes over me. It is then that I know it is my purpose to give them a greater voice, tell their story, and through my own creative process giving them a new life.”
Through brushstrokes, or sometimes paint poured onto the canvas, Obetz brings the implied motions of Ravielli’s drawings to life.
As an artist of found objects, he’s included materials pulled directly from the course—sand from a bunker, for example, used to represent particles of space in motion, or balls and clubs, painted and incor- porated into wall-mounted assemblage.
Pop Art Golf pieces are in both private and corporate collections, including Jack Nicklaus’. PGA star Tom Watson and actor Nicolas Cage also collect Obetz’s work.
During last year’s U.S. Masters tour, the series is slated for exhibition at the Augusta Museum of History in Georgia.
While the found materials of Pop Art Golf honor Obetz’s family history and the history of the game, they’re part of a deeper message that courses through the artist’s larger practice.
“My whole goal is to celebrate the past and bring it into the future in new ways,” he says. “This series was an outgrowth of my entire life of searching for forgotten beauty, of rescuing and repurposing not only myself, but others and their art.”
In life, as in golf, he says, “You’ve got to have an impact, and you’ve got to have a follow through.”
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