Meet our friend Dave Baysden. Dave is a talented artist from Charlotte, NC and has quickly made a name for himself over the past few years in the golf space. He has painted many iconic venues and his work proudly hangs in a lot of our favorite clubhouses. Over these past few years we have gotten to know Dave quite well and most recently hung-out with him at The Bungalow down in Jupiter. Not only is Dave a great artist but he is also a great person and his kindness and personality are what we admire most about him. Get to know Dave below!
1. At what point did you decide to quit your full-time job? Did you ever think you’d be a full-time artist?
My wife and I had begun talking about if leaving my full-time job would be a possibility back in 2019 as my small interest in painting had begun to build to a point where I was staying up way too late at night to paint. I was loving it, but I couldn’t really focus on painting. When I was at my day job I was thinking of the paintings I wanted to be working on and I started to feel overwhelmed by it all. However, I was in a ‘safe’ job at a big engineering firm where I was doing creative work in their planning department. I did enjoy it and really liked the people I worked with.
Like many folks, Covid expedited decisions that, honestly I may not have made. I felt stuck in that job, but I was providing for my family and had always told myself I didn’t have to ‘love’ my work. Brutal to even type that now.
I never dreamed of being a full-time artist, let alone working for myself. Sure, maybe it was in the back of my mind, but if you had told me 10 years ago that I’d be doing what I’m doing now; I would have laughed at you for sure. I do believe that it is something that’s always been in me. We are each created with certain interests and gifts and we’re all unique. It just took me 40 years and a pandemic to trust that God had built me to do this and that he was going to make the journey work! I never had purpose in my work before, but now I do. I pray that my work points people to the idea that God loves us. It’s that simple. He is a personal and loving God that wants us to live a full life and one that brings glory to him. I can say without a doubt that this story isn’t the universe working itself out in my favor, but rather God purposefully designed a path where I would be able to best bring him glory. I lived a fine life, loving my wife and family, but I didn’t have purpose in my life or work. The day my job ended, I’ve never felt the need to trust and rely on God more than I did then; and wow has he worked wonders. I’ve met some of the best people and have been able to paint special moments for people as gifts and memories. Capturing places where folks have spread ashes of loved ones, places where folks have left golf balls as memories for their relatives that have passed, and capturing first homes, proposals, hole-in-ones, and vacation spots.
Now, I’m working harder than I ever have in my life and loving every minute of it. I’m just beyond grateful for the path I’m on, the people I’ve met and the places I get to capture.
I’m thrilled where things are going and for new opportunities, including something I’ve started alongside a bunch of great men, called Restoration Club. We feel called to build a community in golf where you leave from trips encouraged to be better husbands, fathers and friends. We have our first event in May and looking forward to many more where we’ll play golf, encourage and point each other to Jesus and then head home rested, restored and ready to serve those we love the most.
2. Your style is so unique, who are some of the more influential artists to you?
An artist’s style is such a fascinating thing to observe. Mine has developed over the few years that I’ve been painting and the more I paint, the more I am discovering it. It’s one reason that I didn’t paint for most of my life. I thought I needed a style to paint, but actually I needed to paint to develop a style. I imagine my style will change over the next few years as well. I have new ideas I want to try to incorporate and so we’ll see where that goes.
Some of my most influential artists: SORRY This is a LONG list. :)
Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth and Andrew Wyeth are huge inspirations since my childhood for their unique styles, mastery and composition. Norman Rockwell is probably the first artist I remember being drawn too.
Bart Forbes: current artist. I found his work when researching TPC Sawgrass. I can’t wait to get there one day and see his paintings in the clubhouse. I exchanged emails with him a couple of years ago and he couldn’t have been nicer. I remember being drawn to the artwork in old Sports Illustrated magazines and come to find out through our emails that he was likely the artist for most of those pieces. The way he captures a scene and the people in it are inspirational for sure.
LeRoy Neiman: His out of the box creativity. Inspires me to not be contained to a particular way of looking at a scene.
Steve Penley: I’ve loved his work for a long time, but it was in an interview I read of his where he said that in order to be a successful artist (meaning survive on being an artist), he had to learn to paint quicker. To me that looks like painting without fear. I used to paint afraid of messing up. Now I paint without that fear and from a place of not needing to ‘save’ paint. I realized a dream last year when I found out I’d have work in the same building as his at the Georgia offices of the USGA in Atlanta. Still amazed at that turn of events!
Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes): Love his creativity and watercolor style. I have always loved his work and I have a huge desire to do a kids book and develop a storyline on some characters I’ve created. Cartoon and illustration have always been a big part of my work.
Josh Jensen: A super talented friend of mine in Charlotte who paints beautiful abstract art. He actually pushed me to paint several years ago and still challenges me to grow and develop.
Steve Whitby (Creative director at a church I was at 7 years ago): He led a group of artists and saw that I was being held back from pursuing anything in art because of fear. He was primarily responsible for me taking the very first steps of becoming an artist. I owe him more than he’ll ever know.
My contemporaries in the current golf art space constantly inspire me and I’m humbled to even see my name alongside theirs: Joshua Smith, Joshua Davis, Aimee Smith, Josh Bills, Lee Wybranski, Mike Cocking, and many others.
3. Other than golf courses, what are some of your favorite subjects?
I tend to draw from my life experiences growing up for what I enjoy painting the most and for me that is typically tied to the outdoors, fly-fishing, hiking, kayaking, exploring. I grew up visiting my grandparents in Wilmington and Charleston, so I’m heavily drawn to low country marsh scenes. The Low Country of South Carolina calls to my soul!
4. We’re coffee people… what’s your go-to order at Brakeman’s Coffee and Supply? What's the story behind the shop?
My go to order at Brakeman’s depends on the weather. :)
Hot summer day: a “Ticket Please” - it’s our espresso milkshake made with our house beans
Cold Rainy Day : almond milk latte with a touch of vanilla.
Typical morning: black coffee
Typical afternoon: iced coffee with a splash of cream
The shop is located in downtown Matthews, NC in an old 1925 Bungalow. It used to be the home of gentleman who worked for the Seaboard Rail line that runs right through downtown Matthews. The town grew up around the rail line and they have a caboose outside the town hall. Brakeman’s really came out of the idea of wanting to create a place of community for our little town. Two other couples and my wife and I dreamed up this idea, found the bungalow, designed the interior, made the logo and then started selling coffee on our front patio while we had construction done on the inside. The town has supported us from the get go and even through the pandemic when we delivered bags of beans around town! Amazing! For me, I love good coffee, but it was more about building a space for people to gather. I love going there and just watching people interact in a space that we built. Honored to play a small part in that, but more so grateful to get to see it.
The name obviously comes from the town’s connection to train history, but what we loved was that the Brakeman’s job is to control the speed of the train. Life is speeding by so quickly most days, that we want Brakeman’s to be a spot to slow down and enjoy time, be that with friends, family or just you and a book. I can’t say enough good things about the experience and for how Matthews has supported us.
5. What’s your ideal 10-song playlist?
I’m a TERRIBLE person to ask about songs and especially specific songs. Let’s do this in no particular order…
Need to Breath
6. What’s your favorite item in your golf bag? / What’s the “best” course you’ve ever played?
Almost every item in my bag has a story. I’ve bartered for it all with paintings. My favorite item might be the bag itself. It’s a Mackenzie bag that I got from Zac Blair’s - The Ringer II. It’s the only oval shaped opening mac bag ever, courtesy of me leaving it propped up beside my buddy’s jeep. He backed out not knowing it was there and the ring at the top of the bag was so strong it only cracked my driver shaft. Pretty amazing luck and an even better bag, plus it reminds me of some pretty epic golf days at Sweetens.
Pacific Dunes - a dream trip to Bandon and playing on the Oregon Coast, highlighted by my personal best round on my favorite course there.
Mid Pines - This spot is amazing. You feel like you’re just enveloped in the course. The history, silence and pines just create this bubble that you enter into and I’d play there everyday if I could.
Sweetens Cove - where I learned about golf as community and where I decided I wanted to play this game for the rest of my life.
7. Your favorite Draddy item?
Graham Polo (big fan of button pockets and 4 buttons plackets)
Jack Polo - just the most comfortable long sleeve polo ever
Russ Sweatshirt - everyday wear