December 23, 2008: Standing in a parking lot in Santa Barbara, CA about to do last minute secret-santa-stocking-stuffers with my sister.
Cell phone rings.
I look down.
It’s Ollie Nutt, CEO Monterey Peninsula Foundation; The charitable organization for The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am formerly The Crosby National Golf Pro-Am circa 1947.
“What is it??” my sister asks as she witnesses my eyes widen & jaw dropping.
I show her my phone, as it keeps Marimba-ringing while I stammer-whisper:
“It’s Ollie Nutt!!”
Immediately, she understands my excitement.
We both do ‘The-Parking-Lot-Jig’ while my sister yells:
“OMG!! ANSWER THE @#%&! PHONE!!”
This phone call marked one of the most significant times in my life. My artistic path had intersected with my family legacy within the golf world. Unbeknownst to me at the time, this event would solidify, piece together, and fill-in significant gaps in my childhood years helping me to complete the picture of who I am today; not solely as an artist, but most importantly the fabric of my own family ancestry.
Growing up in Portland, Oregon, I was an avid athlete/tom-boy who loved all sports, and the creativity of art & dance. My older self if still amazed to still be playing volleyball and golf! I was a curious person by nature, and loved the essence of learning anything. I still do.
Our dad was the late Dick Yost. His golfing resume as an Amateur golfer reads like a Pro. Within his short lifetime he earned multitudes of golfing awards. He passed-on from the 19th hole disease at the young age of 43, leaving a wife and 3 kids behind in 1973. Let’s just say that all our lives changed dramatically. And for what it’s worth, I might not have become the person I am today without being dealt this hand of cards.
BACKDROP: “THE ART TALK”
Emerging as an artist, you hear repeatedly from mentors & ‘the-big-art-world”:
“Find your own voice”
“Who are you as an artist?”
“It comes from with-in”
“Make the art your own”
You are absorbing these statements, but at the same time spacing-out into oblivion, confused. All you hear is …..’blah blah blah yada yada yada’. In your head you are screaming….”what the heck are you talking about????”
I found MY ‘voice’ searching through a large carved chest at our family home of 50 years in Portland, Oregon. This was a “Pandora’s box” of my family history! I grabbed a stack of photos, old letters typed on onion skin paper, awards, invitations, newspapers, tossed it all into large red box, shoved it in a separate suitcase, and flew back home. I put it on a shelf & there it sat as time passed.
SCENE 2: “TAKING THE CALL”
“Hello,” I said casually trying to containing my burst of anxiety & elation @ the caller.
“Hi, Suzanne. This is Ollie Nutt from Monterey Peninsula Foundation. I’m not sure if you remember me. Have I caught you at a good time?”
Little did Ollie know he had given me his contact info at my solo show at the Phillips Gallery in Carmel. His name appeared larger than life on my iphone. Did I remember him?! Anyone in the big world of golf would know him. OMG! Yes…of course!!!
Surreal would describe this moment.
BACKDROP: “CARMEL MAGAZINE”
Carmel Magazine has been a well-established, reputable publication for many years. I love it’s creativity and artistic layout, with articles that capture life around the Monterey Bay. In 2005, Marty Lewis, from Carmel Magazine, walked into Buzbee Studio Salon, where my artwork first appeared in Carmel. Owner, Chris Buzbee, longtime friend had moved from Aptos to a new studio in Carmel, and insisted only my artwork hang in her shop. Chris was a Carmel catalyst to Aptos artist’s such as myself, celebrity perfumiere AJNE, & now international handbag designer, Stella Paige. This meeting marked the beginning of another level to my professional fine art career.
I took my experience home to my life-long supportive husband and said, “If I was going to design an Ad, I would not do ¼ or ½ page as it does not do any art justice. But it’s way too much of a financial commitment.” Without hestitation, Dany said, “Do it. Without question.”
Carmel Magazine owner/publishers, Steve Snider & Kelli Uldall along with my biggest fan, Marty Lewis, decided I was ready for ‘prime-time”. I was published in Carmel Magazine Holiday 2005 as I hit the Carmel art scene & 2008, highlighting my dad’s golf legacy from a box of memorabilia I found in our family home.
The day after receiving my copies, I packed up my truck with paintings to obtain gallery representation in Carmel.
SCENE 3: “OLLIE”
“I’m sorry I have not contacted you earlier as I said I would. But doing so now. We have the 25th Anniversary of AT&T sponsorship of Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Golf Tournament, and I was wondering if you would like to be the artist for this event?”
Shit eating grin from ear to ear as my sister would attest.
“Wow, Ollie, of course I remember you! And I’d love to do this!!! Do I need to submit a portfolio for consideration?” “Oh no, that’s not necessary. There are no other artists. We want you to be the Official artist”. I had to really take a deep breath to calm my heart palpitations.
The rest is history…and a blur as one of the most memorable 2 days before Christmas I can ever remember. It is probably true that our family members probably got the best stocking stuffers ever on that December 23, 2008 as we had skipped our way into the Mall that day.