MLB stadiums bring together artist's loves

MINNEAPOLIS -- S. Preston will never forget the call he got this spring.

The minimalist graphic designer had been dabbling in baseball stadium artwork, but he wasn't expecting to turn it into a full-time gig. When the Minnesota Twins came calling, they thrust him headfirst into a new career.

"They said, 'For Opening Day, we want you to have all 30 stadiums done,'" Preston said. "I was blown away. So we flew out here, and they put all the designs on wood backing. It's great."

The artwork currently hangs in the Legends Club at Target Field, and Preston was selling prints at his T-Mobile All-Star FanFest booth on Saturday. Each MLB stadium is represented, with just a small part of the venue appearing in the popular pictures that cost anywhere from $20-1,700.

"I try to figure out what is the most iconic element of that stadium," Preston said. "And then the idea of minimalism is to strip away as much as possible. Some of them are very easy to do, and then when I got really stuck, I went on Twitter and got a lot of ideas from people."

The fun part for viewers is trying to figure out which stadium is which. Some are obvious (the live rays at Tropicana Field or the neon Liberty Bell at Citizens Bank Park), but some require a little more thinking.

"There's the guessing-game element," Preston said. "People look for their stadium right away, and they know it. And then they start trying to figure out what other stadiums they have."

The images begin as sketches on paper, and then Preston transforms them into digital prints.

The finished products now hang in the homes of baseball lovers across the world.

"It's my passion of drawing and illustrating meeting sports," Preston said. "Finally, in my life, I found the connection."

Alex M. Smith is an associate reporter for Follow him on Twitter @asmiff. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.