From Walls to the Hall: A Minimalist Masterpiece

From Walls to the Hall: A Minimalist Masterpiece

(Originally written by TED SCHWERZLER and published May 31, 2016 on his blog OFF THE BAGGY)

Artwork has a way of inserting itself into pop culture, mainstream media, and especially sports. While there’s an abundance of offerings in the world of art, it’s the pieces in which we truly connect with that not only bring the work, but also the artist to life. There’s been few people I’ve ever come across who embody these notions more than S. Preston, maybe better known as @PootPoot, or the Minimalist Stadium Guy.

Preston’s artwork first caught my eye near the entrance to the Metropolitan Club at the newly built Target Field. His Minimalist Stadium series was an undertaking that was so flawlessly executed, it’s perfection was displayed in its simplicity. With displays throughout a host of Major League Baseball stadiums, Preston’s art has been handed imparted to the masses.

As his popularity has grown, so have his offerings. What started out with stadiums, has now grown to Disney Ballpark Princesses, as well as Minimalist Mascots. The way in which he’s been able to connect with fans, through his art, really continues to grow. What’s most impressive however, is that it’s that connection that has taken things to an entirely new level, even more so than the art itself.

Despite being far from a goal when starting out his Minimalist Ballpark venture, S. Preston has reached the ultimate pinnacle in baseball circles. He, and well maybe more correctly put, his art, are now members of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

 

To understand how he got there however, you must first understand where he’s been. Despite being a native Canadian, and now residing in California, Preston’s tale begins in Minnesota. Having just been licensed by Major League Baseball, he displayed his Minimalist Ballpark collection at the All Star Game held at Target Field in 2014, and was met by people from all walks of life. Of those attending the show, a group from the Hall of Fame ran into him as well. In talking and understanding his work, those from the committee saw that Preston was as much about the work itself, as he was the connection to the great game of baseball that it provided. The groundwork had been laid.

As time went on, Preston continued to do exactly what he set out to do, use art as a medium to connect with baseball fans. It is in this practice that he’s set himself apart and made buying and owning his art as much about the product, as it is about the person. He’s social media savvy, connecting with fans throughout the Twitterverse. He uses his Ballpark Princesses as giveaways while at games. He’s even made getting mascots behind the minimalist versions of themselves a serious goal. In short, Chuhon sees his art as part of a larger story that he’s telling.

Based on that reality, the Baseball Hall of Fame seems to see the bigger picture as well. Calling up S. Preston shortly after his display at TwinsFest last winter (and imagine the level of excitement he had on that call, he tells the story with such exuberance), it was deemed that his artwork embodied significant parts of baseball history. The Hall of Fame had decided that Preston’s Minimalist Ballpark collection needed to be included among the very few pieces of art that the museum now owns. He, err his work, was going into the Hall.

Throughout talks with the Hall of Fame, it was determined that the four oldest Major League Baseball stadiums would be the best pieces to welcome into the archives. Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Dodgers Stadium, and Kauffman Stadium in all their minimalist glory were now providing Chuhon an avenue to sign H.O.F. behind his name.

Unfortunately, S. Preston won’t be getting a plaque or a bust of himself in Cooperstown any time soon, but his art’s inclusion in the heralded Hall does provide some pretty cool benefits. Not only is he now among the very select few artists that ever see their work get accepted, but he is official a member of the Hall of Fame and it lasts for life. With his lifetime membership, and his work down in the archives, he is also afforded the opportunity to tour the archives, something the general public never sees, at his desire. While on a mission to see his art, the amount of baseball history he walks by and touches along the wall is equally as exciting.

What’s great about where S. Preston and his minimalist style, is that it’s simply a by-product of where he’s come from. A truly genuine person, his path to success is one he should be easily able to continue to replicate. In creating amazing works of art, he’s opened a door. Because of how he uses Twitter and other avenues to connect beyond what’s printed on a piece of paper, he simply can’t be knocked off. As much as you may like his work, you buy equally because of who he is. It was what the Baseball Hall of Fame saw, what I have witnessed, and what you likely have as well.

This chapter is written, and the next one is starting. You can bet @PootPoot will have the next great thing up on his website for purchase soon, and this time, he can sign it “S. Preston H.O.F.”

Minimalist Mascots at FanFest in San Diego

Minimalist Mascots at FanFest in San Diego

This is my third FanFest, and as always, I’m super thankful and humbled by the response from all the fans.   Unlike previous All-Star Games (in Minnesota and Cincinnati) the fans I met were a very diverse group.  There were fans from teams all across the country more than normal.  I learned that most of the fanbase are from the military and either are still serving or decided to stay and settle down in San Diego.  And so many have just migrated to this amazing city.  And no surprise, there was also a LOT of Dodgers and Angels fans that made the trek.  I was glad that many of my friends that I have met in my baseball travels were able to finally see all my art in once place!  A little bit of a surprise is the number of Giants fans that were represented!  Should have printed a way ton more Lou Seals and AT&T Parks.

This year was also the first time I was able to exhibit my minimalist mascot series.  Most of you know the struggles I had to make this a reality, but the proof was going to be right here if my vision would work.  It worked.  Really worked.

 

I never imagined that the mascots would all come to see me and support me – both in and out of costume.  They all thanked me and spoke so highly of my work.  You see, nobody does art of the mascots.  There’s players, and stadiums and logos, but never the mascots.  And mascots are truly the recognizable member of any team.  And that’s what I realized, and I loved the idea that I created something new!  Since I started the mascots, I’ve had mascots from all the other sports contact me, asking for their artwork.  I’ve had so many fans reach out to me with their stories of how the mascots has enriched their lives.  Heck you can waste hours just watching the antics of Phillie Phanatic and Orbit.

So to all the baseball mascots, thank you for supporting my art.  And to everyone who came to FanFest and took part of their time to talk with me and appreciate my art, thank you!  I hope you walked away from my booth with a new appreciation for baseball and art.

 

And for those that asked me about the “Love and Baseball” giveaway,… here’s Erika and her story.

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My Disney baseball partner in crime doesn’t happy to be a father/daughter or a husband/wife story, it’s actually a mother and son bond that I have with my 7 year old son.  As a single mother I have had to play both a mother and father role for my son so that he can fill that space of his father not being in the picture (at least I try). That is one of the biggest reasons we became season ticket holders for the SD Padres two years ago and we have loved every moment of it.  This has been my “father” and son bonding time that I dedicate to my son.  We are huge Disney lovers as well and since he says I am his princess a Disney baseball princess would be something symbolic that can describe the relationship that my son and I share both for the love of the game and the love that we have for each other and Disney.  Disney is a huge part of our lives being that both of my sisters work for Disney and are obsessed. Attending baseball games and incorporating something that we love just like baseball is something that we would love to have.  I think a baseball Disney princess is a representation of both my son and I.  – Erika

St. Paul Ball Pigs Collection

St. Paul Ball Pigs Collection

Who knows about the ball pigs in Minnesota?  Anyone?  I know, I didn’t know either.

Every year, the St, Paul Saints hire a pig to bring the baseballs to the umpire between innings. It’s one of their many unique marketing antics that have made this independent baseball club famous used over the years.  The pig they choose starts out as a little piglet and by the end of the season it’s a full-sized hog!  And traditionally, at the beginning of the season, a contest is held for on lucky fans to pick a name for that year’s ball pig.  Normally it’s a witty pun on a current pop culture icon.  That’s kinda cool, right?

The team and I were sitting around during the off-season chatting about art ideas. And though home of the St. Paul Saints, CHS Field in St. Paul, is state-of-the-art and amazing, the ballpark is only 2 years old and doesn’t have the fondness that older ballparks would have.  So in a brilliant a-ha moment (I find most marketing guys have these) they said, “how about the pigs?”.   And so here you go.  From his mouth, to my brain, to my arm (with the help of about 15 Sharpie markers) I present to you illustrated portraits of all 25 ball pigs of the St. Paul Saints!

Buy now

Each of these prints are available as 11×17 art posters and limited edition prints here.  And for the first time, Im offering t-shirts and coffee mugs.  Check it out!

BUY PRINTS
Opening Day Sales Event

Opening Day Sales Event

WELCOME TO OPENING DAY 2016! I know you are all excited that the long winter is over and we’re back to baseball games that matter.  To celebrate the joy of baseball I’m running a marathon sales event! Since there are 30 teams in Major League Baseball, I decided take the next 30 days and dedicate one sale to each team.  On that day, all art posters I’ve ever created for that team or city will be on sale for 20% off for 24 hours. Yes, that includes all ballparks, mascots, and college and pro football stadiums. If there’s a design or artwork not on my website, you can request it from me on that day and I’ll do my best to accommodate. In some cases, I will make all the artwork in the state for sale (eg: Lambeau Field, Miller Park and Camp Randall in Wisconsin).  I’ll be starting from the NL East and working my way west, then to the AL East and the same.  So here’s the dates!

4/5 – Miami – CODE: GOMARLINSGO
4/6 – Atlanta – CODE: GOBRAVESGO
4/7 – New York Mets – CODE: GOMETSGO
4/8 – Washington DC – CODE: GONATSGO
4/9 – Philadelphia – CODE: GOPHILLIESGO
4/10 – Pittsburgh – CODE: GOBUCSGO
4/11 – Chicago Cubs – CODE: GOCUBSGO
4/12 – Milwaukee/Wisconsin – CODE: GOBREWERSGO
4/13 – St. Louis – CODE: GOCARDSGO
4/14 – Cincinnati – CODE: GOREDSGO
4/15 – Los Angeles – CODE: GODODGERSGO
4/16 – Denver/Colorado – CODE: GOROCKIESGO
4/17 – Phoenix/Arizona – CODE: GODBACKSGO
4/19 – San Diego – CODE: GOPADRESGO
4/20 – San Francisco – CODE: GOGIANTSGO
4/21 – Toronto – CODE: GOJAYSGO
4/22 – New York Yankees – CODE: GOYANKSGO
4/23 – Boston – CODE: GOREDSOXGO
4/24 – Tampa Bay – CODE: GORAYSGO
4/25 – Baltimore – CODE: GOORIOLESGO
4/26 – ChiSox – CODE: GOCHISOXGO
4/27 – Kansas City – CODE: GOROYALSGO
4/28 – Detroit – CODE: GOTIGERSGO
4/29 – Minnesota – CODE: GOTWINSGO
4/30 – Cleveland – CODE: GOTRIBEGO
5/1 – Los Angeles – GOANGELSGO
5/2 – Houston – GOASTROSGO
5/3 – Dallas – GORANGERSGO
5/4 – Seattle – GOMARINERSGO
5/5 – Oakland – GOASGO

(Art posters only)

So save the date, and have an amazing 2016 baseball season!

Color Swatch Baseball: Pantone Chips of every MLB team

Color Swatch Baseball: Pantone Chips of every MLB team

You all know that I’m a minimalist artist, so how much more minimalist can this get?  All graphic artists spend ample time working with the numeric values of all colors.  Most of us can rattle off the CMYK, Hex# and RGB values of many different colors.  So for this little project, I decided to break down each Major League Baseball team’s brand into the two main Pantone colors, and create a color swatch poster.  And just for fun, I named each color after some notable landmarks and baseball players of each team. If you want to purchase a print of these pantone posters, please sign up to my newsletter at the bottom of this post to get notified if the release!

Minimalist TC Bear Approved!

Minimalist TC Bear Approved!

Ding!  TC Bear is approved!

Thankfully the team at the MLB Properties put up a fight with me!  Sa after 6 months of “Seriously????”, “But what about…???”, we were able to overcome some of the hurdles of getting my Minimalist Mascots licensed my Major League Baseball.  So thank you MLB and thank you Minnesota Twins for making this happen!  And what great timing too, because I’ll be at TwinsFest in Minneapolis this weekend, and the TC Bear will be on my table and art posters will be ready for you to take home!  So here’s the deal.

For TwinsFest, the first 30 prints will be limited edition prints!  There will only be 30 and they will only be sold at TwinsFest.  They are printed on textured museum-grade paper, hand numbered, hand signed and embossed with my limited edition stamp.  The limited edition prints are $30 each (same price as the open edition posters).  These will most likely run out by Friday, so come early and get them while they last.  (No worries, I’ll have plenty of regular edition posters).

We are still pending approvals on the rest of the ten mascots I’ve designed and when I’m back from Minnesota the art posters and art prints will be ready for sale on my website.  And I’ll be busy!  There are 54 official mascots in the MLB!  And not to mention the requests for other sports and other leagues!

*** If you sign up to my newsletter, there’s a special deal announcement for ya ***

Minimalist TC Bear art print by S. Preston

Minimalist MLB Mascots – Series 1

Minimalist MLB Mascots – Series 1

Who loves sports mascots?  Me! Me! So no surprise, I’ve created minimalist artwork of some of the popular team mascots around the Major Leagues.  So for the first series, I’m launching my first ten illustrations, and I hope to complete all 54 soon.  Details about purchasing these prints are at the bottom of the page.

This artwork has not been licensed by the MLB and is temporarily not for sale. Though I’m an MLB licensed artist all my artwork must go through an approval process.  If you wish to be notified when these are available for sale please contact me and I’ll let you know the details.

Cyber Monday Bonus!  Free Art!

Cyber Monday Bonus! Free Art!

So on top of the cool awesome savings I ran all weekend, I’m adding this little bonus!

Every order on November 30th will receive a free original 5×7 illustration.  you will receive:

  • handsketched team logo
  • ballpark princess sketch
  • hand sketched team stadium

If you have a request, please leave the details in the checkout notes.  Or else, I will select the drawing and team which i think you will most appreciate for you.

(only one per customer)

All codes are still active through to midnight.

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BLACK FRIDAY 2015

BLACK FRIDAY 2015

This year, I’m having my biggest black friday sale ever!  Since this is the my first black friday sale every, my claims are not outrageous at all!  Keep in mind that “art should never be on sale” but that doesn’t mean that everything on my website is art! Starting on Friday November 27th, several of my non-art products will be up ot 50% off.  The sale will end at midnight on Monday November 30th.  The items that will be on sale are…

POSTCARDS

MODIFY WATCHES

ART POSTERS

Happy shopping!