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

FanFest in Cincinnati

FanFest in Cincinnati

So I’m back from Cincinnati and I’m tired!  This was my second FanFest with the MLB and I forgot what a surreal experience it is!  Cincinnati is a baseball town, and there were fans everywhere!  Before I recap some of the nuttiness, I have to thank everyone that came to my booth to see my artwork. Regardless if you bought art, or just came to see the display, I’m thankful that you took the time to see me.  I’ll never stop being grateful to you!
  • I moved out of Canada to get away from the weather.  So having rain every day was very familuar but depressing.  The weather played in our favor though because the event got crazy busy during those thunderstorms.
  • The limited edition minimalist mustache prints sold out by the day 2.  We pulled all the inventory off of MLB.com, and we sold out of those the next day.  We ran out of ALL inventory by day 4. If you got one, you are one of the lucky ones.
  • I met Johnny Bench! Johnny asked me what my last name was, and I said, “It’s just Preston”.  He told me, “They I’m just Johnny”. We shook hands.  Our booth was so busy, nobody took a picture.  #sigh
  • Ate some amazing Cinny food!  Went to Taste of Belgium for chicken and waffles.  Grabbed some chicken at The Eagle.  Dove into some pizza at Adriatico’s.  Grabbed some mac+cheese at Keystones.  And of course… had a Coney at Skyline… and loved it!  Next time it’s a four-way with beans.
  • My ballpark princesses were happy distraction for those little girls. I really don’t think that the event caters well to the female baseball fan, especially for the younger ones. I’m glad I can share Reds Ariel and Reds Belle to the little pony-tailed Reds fans.
  • We AirBNB’ed our place again and the cross streets were Clifton and Vine.  A bit of an eye-opener for this Canadian!!!!
  • Deanna and I never met before the show, and we hit it off like we’ve been friends for years!!!  Can’t thank her enough for being there to help us!  I bet she never expected to experience my crazy life when she answered that Craigslist ad!

One of my favorite comments was a man said that he noticed I thanked and shook the hand of almost everyone I met.  He said that I was the only one that wasn’t behind an easel or painting baseballs and he appreciated being approachable.  I had tons of plans to draw artwork and commission sketches, but it’s much more important to talk to you and thank you for buying my art.  I’m a happy man talking ballparks and baseball.  Some of you came every day for 5 days, and some of you stayed at my booth for 1/2 hour.  If you know me on social media, I pride myself in listening to your stories, and joining you in celebrating art + baseball.

So I hope to see ya at RedsFest (if the stars align) and I’m happy to meet new friends from Ohio.  If you are out to California and visiting Orange County, I’ll always share a coffee (Ashley, cya in a couple weeks!)

Fathers, Daughters and Baseball

Fathers, Daughters and Baseball

So how does a father share the sport they love so much with a daughter that he loves more than anything?  For fathers that are baseball fans, it’s significantly more difficult to bond when you have a little girl.

Sports and art naturally appeals to the female audience, and a large number of my fans and customers are women.  So naturally I knew that the ladies would love my Ballpark Princess series.  But I never expected the reaction I would get from fathers who immediately connected their favorite sport with their daughter’s favorite cartoon character.  I’ll let Craig (@CMSFGiants) explain what this means to his daughter…

From the time I found out I was having a daughter, I began thinking about how I would teach her the game of baseball.  One of the first words out of her mouth was, “Giants!” and by the age of two she was doing the “Let’s go Giants,” *clap* *clap* *clap* chant.  As she gets older, it’s always a fine balance between sharing my interests with her and staying involved in what interests her.  I have definitely sung my fair share of Frozen and Equestria Girl songs.  When I saw S. Preston’s work, I saw a great opportunity to blend one of my interests and one of my daughter’s; Elsa in a Giants uniform.  I’m excited to see her reaction when she looks at the image for the first time and look forward to growing in interests in Giants baseball. – Craig

If you have a unique story of love and baseball, don’t hesitate to email me.  There’s aways some art involved 🙂

My Bold Decision

My Bold Decision

A couple years ago, I decided that I needed a change.  It’s not that I didn’t garner accolades as a graphic designer and web specialist, but I had that feeling that we all get when we’re stuck in a rut.  So in 2012 I made a bold decision and decided to uproot myself from Vancouver and move to a different country with nothing but a desire for a new path in life.  I was secretly hoping to find a something that would “fill my creative soul” but honestly, I really wasn’t gonna be picky.  I did know that I had talents, skills and perseverance, so I gambled that I could use those traits to land on my feet somehow.

Just before I boarded the plane, I created this infographic and send it to all my friends, family and anyone I think that could help me along the way.  If you have followed my story as a sports illustrator and graphic artist, it’s neat to look back now and see the fruits of my endeavor.

FanFest and the All-Star Game in Minneapolis

It’s been over a month, yes it has!  It is hard to capture all the emotions I’ve felt for those 5 days in Minneapolis, but the best way is to spurt out, “Thank you!!!”.

Though I’m not a new kid on the block when it comes to graphic design, it’s only been a couple months since I really started labelling myself as an ‘artist’.  The experience starting from uploading my first design on Tumblr a year ago has been a strange and fortunate genesis of me and my love for clean design and baseball.  An artist is that guy who stands behind an easel and paints landscapes or portraits with technical grace.  An artist is the guy that draws those amazing comic books that I would line up to meet at Comic-Con to just get a photograph and a signature.  Me?  No.  I was just a gym-rat that tried every sport and doodled on the side of my notes in school.

Why FanFest at All-Star weekend was so special to me was that this was the first time I actually saw people and their reactions to my designs. You see, I’ve only launched my designs online, and yes the reception has been amazing, but I never get to actually SEE the reaction.  “So cool!”, “So awesome!”, “This is amazing!” was pretty much what I heard hundreds of times every day. (That’s So Cool!)

And out of all the stadiums that have my artwork on display, it happens to be Target Field!  How about that for stars aligning?  Twins fans would come shooting across the convention hall and shake my hand and tell me how much they adore my art display.  It never occurred to me that this was the first time that Twins fans were able to purchase the artwork they have seen all season as they attend a ballgame.  Ian and I keep saying we will always have a soft spot for Minnesota and down the road, we will call Minnesota the ‘epi-center’ for the growth of my art career.But so many of you wandered into my booth not seeing my art for the first time. Some of you brought your family and helped teach your children about each stadium and all the teams.  Some of you told stories to Ian, Alicia and I about your memories of attending various ballparks and your love for baseball. Some of you bought my art (score!!!) and had me sign your print.  And some of you took pictures with me by my art.  But all of you together have played a small part in pushing me towards a new and exciting life as a sports artist.  So I can only say thank you!

Minimalist Art Display at Target Field

One of the most monumental moment in my (short) art career is my display in Target Field, in Minneapolis.  You see, a couple months back, I got a phone call from the stadium interior design reps and asked me if I wouldn’t mind if they displayed my minimalist ballpark series in their stadium.  Umm, yes!!!  Fast forward to opening day, and my many twitter fans in Minnesota started tweeting me photos and congratulations for the unveiling of the display.  As any Lego character will say, “Everything is Awesome”.

A couple weeks ago, I was able to travel to Minneapolis with my business partner, and we were finally able to see the display with my own eyes.  Quirky fact, it was my officially the furthest east I’ve ever traveled in America.  I was not only excited to see the display, and see the Dodgers in an interleague game, but I was finally able to visit my fifth ballpark!  And really, what are the odds that it would snow so hard they would cancel the game … May right?  Apparently the odds were 100%.  And for this Canadian, I obviously have lived in California for a little too long, because 40 degrees with sleet blowing sideways was “uncomfortable”.  Mostly ‘uncomfortable’ cause I packed flip flops and shorts.  I will say, I did pack a hoodie, which means I still suffered greatly.

I have to thank Phil Miller from the Minneapolis Star Tribune who wrote an article about my artwork last year, and he was able to sneak us into Target Field and see the display.  Clearly Target Field has an appreciation for artwork, cause there’s a lot of great art!  My display is located in the right field, outside the Metropolitan Club entrance.  This section is dedicated to ballparks, where the adjacent hallway has photographs of all 30 parks.  It was an epic experience to see my art on a wall with my name, and it makes me glad that millions of baseball fans will get to see it every year.

A special thank you to @Ben_c_Krause for taking the time to take photographs for us.