CH.1 - THE DREAM
All I ever wanted to do was be in sports.
Just so ya know, I'm that guy in school that you hated because he was good at everything. I got perfect grades, captain of every team, played three instruments and the excellent at art - but all I wanted to do was be in sports. I won piano competitions, art competitions and mathematics competitions, but that didn't matter because all I wanted to do was be in sports. But as we all know too well, the dream of being a professional athlete is not for everyone, including me.
“All I ever wanted to do was be in sports.”
So at this point, I realized that the best way to get into sports is through broadcasting. My parents were so proud that I had been accepted in all the top schools in Canada, and I can go and do whatever I wanted. They were not so proud when I decided to enroll in broadcast school in a small technical institute in Calgary. But then, I can join a broadcast crew and work every sports event on the planet! After I graduated, I ended up working in several TV studios, and got to work at golf tournaments, hockey games and horse racing tracks around Western Canada. I went to many sports events but I only saw them through a camera lens or through a television monitor. So, yes I was working AROUND sports, but not IN sports. This was not good.
CH.2 - THE FOOL WITH A PLAN...
Fast forward several years. I mean SEVERAL years. I'm now 40 and lost sight of my dreams. Mind you, I am still pretty good at everything, but you think that makes for instant success, right? Wrong! As the saying goes, "A fool with a plan, will always beat a wandering genius". I had learned and accomplished lots at this point, but it really didn't amount to any sort of success in my mind. Then one day, I picked up a doodle I did of minimalist ballparks that I sketched on a post-it-note about 3 years earlier, and thought, "meh, I'm bored. Why not?".
We all heard the story about viral sensations and that's the best way to describe the next six months. I built a e-comm website quickly and answered press calls and filled orders like a mad man. And in a rare moment to pause and think, I picked up the phone, and called the one guy that I know is smarter than me and said, "Ian, I need help!" Luck for me, Ian has no artistic talents or graphical aspirations but has an amazingly stable head on his shoulders. So with his left brain and my right brain, we blasted forward in creating my brand S. Preston Art + Designs.
I am now finally in sports.
I talk to sports fans, sports reporters and athletes every day. I spend my days traveling from ballparks to stadiums and going to games, events, and festivals. My heroes introduce themselves to me and they tell me how much my art means to them. In 2016, my artwork was added into the permanent archives in Cooperstown and I've been issued a lifetime membership into the Baseball Hall of Fame. And mostly, I get to use all my talents that have been blessed with and I use them to do the things I love. #Wow
CH.3 - THE PRESS
I'm not a soapbox-type of guy, so I let my body of work speak for itself. My artwork makes people smile. More than anything people say, "So cool!" and "So unique!". In the age of the internet, I am lucky to have many fans who have advertised my art through word of mouth. And in some cases, those fans work in some pretty swanky media outlets that I could never imagine I would be in my entire life.
“My artwork makes people smile.”
Me and my artwork have been featured on Deadspin, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Bleacher Reports, FanSided, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly and Yahoo! Sports. You can also read about me in the New York Daily News, Minnesota Star Tribune, Kansas City Star, Tampa Bay Times, and Orange County Register. I was a featured artist at three MLB All-Star Games. My minimalist ballpark art is displayed in eight ballparks across the country, in several art galleries, and dotted throughout many office walls of MLB executives and corporate leaders. I even have my own exhibit on the second level at Target Field!
CH.4 - THE ARTIST AND THE ART
"The goal of minimalist art is to break down something to it’s essence and make it highly identifiable using as little as possible." - S. Preston
I try every day to change the way sports and art collide. There are many great sports artists and they can create great paintings of famous athletes with finest of detail and skill. But players and team logos are so engrained into the sports culture and too 'on the nose' for my liking. My style is different. I strive to eliminate the obvious, and instead focus on simplicity and clean design.
The plan is very simple. Create artwork that augments and connects sports fans to their deepest love for the game. My minimalist artwork should hit your right in the heart within 3-5 seconds. Right in that place where you first attended a ball game as a kid. Right in that feeling on opening day when you've waited the whole offseason. In that moment of recognition, all the things you love about the sport you love about your team should come together with a feeling of pride and happiness. That's the sweet spot and that's why my art speaks to so many people.
“Create artwork that augments and connects sports fans to their deepest love for the game”
CH.5 - THE BUSINESS
Ian and I are sports fans first. We do wear many hats like salesman, order fulfiller and accountant but first are foremost, we are sports fans. Like most coveted sports memorabilia, my art is highly collectable and most of my art pieces are issued as limited edition prints. But we also share the belief that my art should be available to all fans too, not just the rich ones! So we have always tried to offer products which are at a friendly price, like small posters and postcards.
...sometimes the price tag should not stop my art from spreading love for one another"
Have you ever told yourself, if you ever "make it" you'd start donating? Well I'm not quite rich and famous yet, but I don't believe that should stop me from sharing my art and giving back. Many of you have received free art and donations from me. I was just raised to believe in the community, and sometimes the price tag should not stop my art from spreading love for one another. I've seen the impact that my creativity has on people's lives and so I will continue to find new and unique ways to use my art to spread joy on this planet we live on.
CH.6 - THE EXTRA INNINGS
- I've never been to art school. Everything I create is self-taught.
- My avatar is from the greatest TV series ever. If you like baseball and cartoons (especially anime) I recommend watching Major. It's six seasons long but an amazing story.
- I see myself as an athlete before an artist. I'm on the ice 2-3 times a week playing hockey, I run almost every morning, and I'm good at most sports. The back of my car often full of sports gear (which really needs to get washed once and a while).
- I'm competitive about everything, even in McDonalds lineups.
- Even though I've never played an inning of organized baseball, I taught myself to switch hit when I was 12.
- I'm single, but that's mostly because I pour my heart and love into my art and baseball. One day, when I'm ready, I'll find a battery-mate who can catch with my fastballs for the rest of my life. She's out there somewhere.