Working in mixed media, and building up buzz about his work via social channels like Instagram, Preston Paperboy is a truly modern artist. His self-described “neo-expressionist” artworks take cues from his urban surroundings, as well as popular culture, and his views on the current state of the world.
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Born in Great Dunmow, Essex in 1992, Nathan Preston’s nom-de-guerrecomes from the fashion company he founded in 2014. Prior to his parallel career paths in both fashion and art, he pursued a degree in architecture at Brighton University, but took up painting in his spare time.
Preston once claimed that his interest in art stemmed from the lack of “art freedom” afforded him on his degree course. Taking stylistic inspiration from Cy Twombly, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kaws, he initially sold his work to his friends and family from the age of 19. However, he almost immediately found himself fielding orders for his work through social media.
Although Preston Paperboy often works on traditional mediums, he has also customised skate decks, and will frequently make use of irregularly-shaped canvases. His trademark is his “Smiler” logo, a cartoon face with a resigned smile, single teardrop falling down its cheek, and a pair of dollar signs for eyes. The young artist has explained that the latter acts as “a reminder to not let wealth or fame cloud his vision as an artist”, and the “Smiler” figure adorns all of his pieces.
Combining his ambition and drive with his unique visual take on the form of street art, Preston Paperboy began to work on his art more seriously in 2016. Now working in sculpture as well as painting, his short career so far has already seen him exhibit his work at the BoxPark pop-up shopping centres in Croydon and Shoreditch, and garner interest from international collectors.