If you were at Target Field for the All Star Game or are clued in on the Major League Baseball art scene, you have likely seen S. Preston’s artwork previously. Known as the guy who put together the minimalist stadium artwork, he is amongst the few artists licensed by Major League Baseball. We took the opportunity to catch up with him through the topic of his Twins art.
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Target Field is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful stadiums in all of Major League Baseball. S. Preston has accurately captured the glory through a very simple work of art, and has become a fan favorite in Twins Territory. Even paying homage to the Metrodome in a piece, the artwork separates itself from the rest of the abstract world and is a must for any baseball fan.
He’s been featured on websites such as USA Today, ESPN, and Deadspin. The height of the minimalist ballpark designs has even been featured at our very own Target Field. In getting the opportunity to talk with S. Preston, we found out a little bit more than the art that resides on the surface. Take a look…
Puckett’s Pond: As an artist, what got you hooked on going after baseball stadiums are your first complete compilation in creating the minimalist series?
S. Preston: Honestly I wish I can say I have lasting memories of all of them, but I have only been to 5 ballparks in my life. I just feel that players come and go and jerseys change, but the ballpark itself is the constant landmark that a fan can relate fondly too. My art style also lends well to architecture with it’s clean lines and long shadows.
PP: Was there something that stuck out to you about Minnie and Paulie at Target Field, or how did you end up choosing what part of the stadium you would feature?
SP: Target Field was difficult for me. Minimalist art is all about choosing the most recognizable feature and stripping away as much excess as you can to narrow the focus and increase recognizability. Minnie and Paulie are clearly the most recognizable feature no doubt, but they are a strong part of the Twins brand, and I think logos are a cheaters way to make minimalist art recognizable. I’m super happy how it turned out, since it doesn’t look like the logo, it looks like the neon sign in the stadium, and that’s perfect!
PP: Having done significant research for all Major League Baseball stadiums prior to coming up with each design, what stadium did you find being the most fun and why?
SP: Yes a lot! I’m a master-googler of stadiums! Remember I’ve hardly been to any! Nat park is one of my favorites. It’s not actually the park, but it connects so well with the ballpark experience. I’m particularly proud of Coors Field because it captures the “if you know it, you know it.” 100% of Rockies fans know why that row of seats or purple, but outside of Denver, it’s very obscure. I love that connection to my art!
PP: When coming up with a new stadium design, how much sketching and planning takes place prior to digging into the final design concept?
SP: It’s normally about 2-3 quick sketches and then I dive right in. With my background as a graphic designer and web guy, I am able to build a design easily, without much structure in place. And it’s minimalist! So that makes the process a little easier.
PP: Now having been present at Target Field in the past, what is your favorite part about interacting with people who enjoy your art?
SP: Wow, the All Star Game was one of the most surreal and coolest experience in my life. Up till that point, I have only exhibited my artwork online. Though well received, I never expected the reception for Twins fans when they saw the art in physical form. It’s always nice to sign art, talk to fans, and take photos with them. I liked to watch their eyes and body language as they moved around my display. To see baseball fans slowly fill with joy in naming the stadiums, finding their own stadium and soaking in the collection as a whole, is unbelievable as an artist/baseball fan. It takes the art to a whole new level when you see that kind of connection.
PP: You’ve featured both Target Field and the Metrodome in your minimalist stadium series. Both works present a different form of simplicity, do you prefer one over the other?
SP: I love all my children! LOL I approached vintage ballparks a little differently, since these parks no longer exist. I can challenge the fans a little more with current parks, but vintage parks can be a little more on the nose, which helps jog people’s memories. So many fans said they would stare at the patterns in the old Metrodome. So said they looked up because they couldn’t bare to watch what was happening on the field anymore! 😉 But I think the best comment about the Metronome is that I made an ugly ballpark into beautiful art. That’s major reinforcement!
PP: Finally, already having an impressively expansive portfolio, where do you see yourself taking next steps from here?
SP: I’m working on second and third designs for each stadium. Some people collect my artwork as a ticket stub to all the ballparks they visited. But most fans are fans of one team, so I think there’s more to explore in each ballpark. I envision a greeting card set or postcard set of 2-3 designs would do very well. I’m also working with a t-shirt manufacturer which should hit stores later this year.
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