Today we’d like to introduce you to Shay Blechynden.
Shay, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
This feature is about being a photographic artist, but up until a few years ago, I was more known in the San Diego area as being a PGA Golf Professional at the ultra-exclusive Bridges Club in Rancho Santa Fe. I still teach golf and I love it, but I’ve certainly become more known for photography than for golf of late. A little more than 2 years ago, I left my full time position behind and made the transition to selling landscape wall art. I’m thrilled now to have a great balance between the two worlds of golf and photography. And sometimes, those worlds intersect. I’ve been commissioned to provide scenic photography for several prestigious clubs in Southern California and it’s a match made in heaven for both myself and the clients. Who better to take golf course photos than a seasoned golf professional?
Winning the “People’s Choice Award” at the San Diego Fair Exhibition of Photography last year (2017) was a huge boost to my photographic resume and credibility. It was also a big boost to my confidence because I was also awarded 2nd, 3rd and 4th place awards in the landscape categories as well. Getting the votes of both “the common man” and of the professional judges simultaneously, was a tremendous boost to the fragile ego of an artist!
The winning image “Narrow Escape” was captured at one of my favorite places, Zion National Park in southwest Utah. The photo was captured in a very deep and dramatic slot canyon called “The Narrows”. It’s truly an amazing and awe-inspiring hike up the Virgin River, but it can be also grueling and even dangerous when monsoonal rains create flash flood conditions. Two years before, someone died on the same day that I was scheduled to go. But it’s those same crazy weather conditions that have created, over time, much of my favorite photographic subjects.
I got started in photography during a few whirlwind trips around Europe in the early 2000’s. There’s nothing like Rome and Paris to make you want to snap a few photos!
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
At the core, I focus on classical fine art landscape photography. I prefer to shoot untouched landscapes and seascapes under the best of conditions. Having said that, I love nature, people and photography and thus, can be found shooting a variety of this other than landscapes. Since I became serious about the craft in around 2006, I’ve wanted to be competent in many aspects of imagery. I’ve done products, sports, events, concerts, engagements, weddings, families, studio work and even some boudoir. I’ve been published by several magazines and even did some fashion work for Golf Digest. And that’s all fun, fine and good; but for me, shooting landscapes is what I want to be doing.
When I stand in front of a large print of a beautiful scene of nature, it does something to me. I just love it! When I fly, I always take a window seat for the same reason. I just love looking out of the window at the earth below. I know that not everyone shares my passion and enthusiasm for a wonderful, colorful scene, but it surprises me every single time they don’t. I just can’t imagine not having incredible, scenic art on my walls. I think everyone should! Art makes life better and if I can contribute to that in some way, I’m happy to do it. I’m increasingly posting more on social media. That’s not just to try and sell art, it’s as much to share the joy that I feel for the natural world.
Lately, I’ve been also moving into the realm of abstract, modern photo art. Overly simplified, I take a nice photo and then slowly and painstakingly modify it into a circular piece that is both highly colorful and thought provoking.
How can artists connect with other artists?
I’ve never heard of artists being lonely. Misery loves company! Haha! With all of the potential places to connect with fellow artists on the internet, there’s no reason you can’t build a network of both online and REAL fellow artists and friends. As a matter of fact, I think many of the artists and photographers that are in our community are doing it just to feel a sense of belonging. I have met many nice people, in person, as a direct result of my photography. I’ve had dates even!
Having said that, selling and being popular are an entirely different subject altogether. That’s some lonely stuff there! Finding a place to share and sell your work is really tough. And expensive. Gaining fans and customers is incredibly difficult in a world where 1.8 billion images are uploaded online daily. And those who know how, aren’t sharing. I get that. There’s just so much competition for attention out there. It’s like having a good fishing spot. If you tell people, it won’t be a great fishing spot for long! But ultimately, all the competition is good for weeding out those who lack talent or work ethic. In the end, the consumer wins by finding only better quality and aesthetics.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My work is easily seen online but is much more impressive when seen up close in a large high-end print. Online, I can be found at my website (www.shayimages.com) and also on Facebook (Shay Blechynden and Shay Images) and Instagram (shay_images).
My art and decor business is mostly from my network of friends fans that have come to follow me both through golf and photography. I have a portable studio that I can use to display at private art shows and things like art fairs.
I specialize in large prints and large installations, the type that are typically used in high-end offices and public spaces. I got some cool stuff out there, all the way from Chula Vista to Oceanside and even Orange County, but most of it, is in more private office settings. I’m always on the lookout for a space where I can share my work and do something special, so if you want to support me, hit me up!
- Website: www.shayimages.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shay_images/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shay.blechynden
Krisztina Scheef, Shay Blechynden/Shay Images