My Greatest Assignment
By Mark Ulriksen (BA, Visual Communication, ’80)
Last spring, Golf Digest asked me to take on the greatest assignment of my life: attend the Masters and paint my impressions, whatever they may be.
For a sports fan like me, the answer was a fast yes, and so last April I spent a week in Augusta, Georgia, covering the 2008 Masters Tournament as a visual journalist. I work from photographs, and during the tournament, I e-mailed the Golf Digest photo editor requests for specific shots that the magazine’s staff photographers would then take on my behalf. Last August I received a disc from the magazine with my wish list of photos, and then over the fall, I did 10 oil paintings, of which eight were published.
One of the best perks of the week, besides the press pass that allowed me to roam everywhere, was my stay at a house that the magazine rented for the various writers and editors. Some heavy-hitting sports journalists were present for nightly conversations about everything—among them sportswriter Dan Jenkins; sportswriter and commentator John Feinstein; and the guest writer for the article illustrated by my paintings, legendary broadcaster Tom Brokaw.
And then came the icing on the cake of my fabulous sports week: On my return flight to San Francisco from Atlanta, my seatmate turned out to be former San Francisco Giants announcer Hank Greenwald!
Editor’s note: Mark Ulriksen’s artwork first appeared in Chico Statements on the back cover of the fall 2004 issue. An award-winning freelance illustrator and artist, Ulriksen has created images for many of America’s leading magazines and newspapers, including Rolling Stone, Vibe, GQ, and The New York Times, and his work features in the permanent collection of The Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, and the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna (the Museum of Contemporary Art), Rome. He has been a regular contributor to The New Yorker since 1993, seeing more than 150 of his illustrations in its pages and painting more than 30 of its covers.
Ulriksen is married to Leslie Flores (’81), who owns Leslie Flores Photography. They live in San Francisco with their two daughters. For a look at more of his art, including prints of all the Golf Digest illustrations, go to www.markulriksen.com.