The falconry story by Duncan Barnes in this issue and Jack Nicklaus' golf tip a few pages later have one common factor: they were illustrated by the same artist, Francis (Frank) Golden. Golden now knows about as much about Nicklaus' golf swing as does Jack himself. And when he goes to work for us on an outdoor story, as he has for years, he is truly an expert among experts.
Artist Golden is a Yankee from Adams, Mass. He went to Boston's Museum of Fine Arts School, then journeyed to New York City in search of success and money. After a sticky start he found both. One of his first jobs was helping Salvador Dali do a mural on the inside wall of a mermaid tank. This was in the Dream of Venus exhibit at New York World's Fair I. As often happens in the world of commercial art, the opening of the Dream of Venus was an emergency operation for the Dali crew. They stood in the tank on that last day, madly painting with rubber-base paint as the water was let in, and the beautiful bare-breasted mermaids entered and began swimming about. The gallant band of artists finished the job just as the water surged up to their wide-open eyes. Frank has had an affinity for water ever since—and especially for water that fish swim in.
These days the waters Golden most often frequents are those of Long Island Sound, and the attraction is likely to be bluefish or striped bass—not mermaids. He lives with his wife Marie and his two young sons in Weston, Conn., where he fishes, paints, fishes, collects guns and fishes. Though he sometimes goes for trout in nearby streams, he finds the stocked brookies much too civilized.
When the fish he likes are running Frank runs after them in his 18-foot bass boat, and there is a loud rumor among his companions about a great, well-oiled art machine that paints away while Frank merrily casts. The rumor goes that Frank, with the flick of a switch, simultaneously does two things: he starts the ingenious contraption and he clears his conscience for the wonderful hours ahead. Golden denies it all, and—even aside from his sensitive paintings—there is evidence to dispute the allegation. Frank Golden's conscience is a bothersome thing, especially on the subject of the outdoors. Like many fishermen, he is deeply concerned about conservation. In his talks with other sportsmen wherever he has traveled for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Golden has found "a common interest in conservation and a constant awareness of the fast-changing outdoor scene. Men and machines move in on the wild free lands, leaving behind decimated forests and piles of concrete.
"I can see it on a smaller scale around home," he adds, "in the town of Westport the marshes and the Saugatuck River are slowly being eaten away, being filled for parking lots. We must all be aware and beware. Change, of course, must come, but most of the time there is a choice to be made. We should be making more good ones."
Frank Golden, we agree with you. And we don't believe the rumor about that marvelous machine.
FRANK GOLDEN: A SELF-PORTRAIT