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Meet the NBA player-turned-artist who paints for George Clooney

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Meet the NBA player-turned-artist who paints for George Clooney

Post by Nicky80 on Thu Feb 12 2015, 19:34

Meet the NBA player-turned-artist who paints for George Clooney

When Desmond Mason was a rookie in the NBA during the 2000-01 season, he was summoned to the league’s Midtown office for a sudden meeting with then-commissioner David Stern.
Nervously, the 6-foot-6 player for the Seattle SuperSonics headed into the pooh-bah’s office.
Turns out, Stern was interested in the baller’s burgeoning art career — and had read a Sports Illustrated article about Mason that ran while he was a senior at Oklahoma State, where he played small forward and studied studio art.
“I was really the only artist-athlete at the time. He thought it was interesting,” says the Texas native, who went on to win the league’s Slam Dunk contest in 2001.

Stern asked to buy one of his drawings featured in the magazine — a portrait of Al Pacino in “Carlito’s Way.”
“Is he the consigliere of the Gambino family? What is going on?” Mason recalls thinking at the time.
Stern paid $500 for the work, though Mason now admits he was so flattered, he would have given it to him for free.
The unconventional exchange between commish and first-year player was just the tipoff for Mason’s not-so-average life off the court.

While many monied hoopsters are amassing art, the 37-year-old is creating it.
In the years since, Mason has sold his work to notables such as movie star George Clooney, sportscaster Joe Buck, nightlife honcho Rande Gerber and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.
His colorful abstract art has been shown at Art Basel in Miami, and the married father of two just sold a painting to Chicago businessman David Gupta for $60,000.
On Thursday, his work will be on display in New York for the first time in the Athletes for Art Renaissance show in Chelsea.
Not bad for a kid growing up outside of Dallas who saw his pad and pen as an escape rather than a calling.
“When I was growing up in a bad neighborhood with drugs and violence, art was my getaway,” says Mason, who took ceramics in school and used the brown paper bags that covered his textbooks as his cheap canvases.
And when he enrolled at Oklahoma State, he didn’t settle for a slacker liberal arts major favored by other student athletes.
Already stretched by a grueling schedule, Mason opted to study studio art, which required traveling to road games with sculpting tools, a portfolio and even an easel.
“Some of my teammates who roomed with me didn’t really like it. They always gave me s - - t. Either that, or they wanted me to draw them something for their dorms. They were like, ‘Man, can you draw Barry Sanders?’ ” Mason laughs, recalling the request for a picture of the football player.
The kid with the 7-foot wingspan was picked by Seattle in the first round of the 2000 draft and continued lugging his portfolio on road games.
While with the Sonics, he threw his first art show in 2002, which drew praise from out-of-town critics.

“That’s when I knew this was something I could do for a living,” he says, though he continued to play hoops.
After seeing “Pollock,” the biopic about the great American abstract painter Jackson Pollock, he changed his focus from realism to abstract expressionism.
“I went out and bought a roll of canvas, paint and destroyed my lawn,” says Mason, who set up his easel in front of his house. “I painted for three hours and that changed me. I went from realism in black and white to massive-scale abstract painting.”
While playing for Milwaukee in 2006, he bought a home in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where he hobnobbed with his A-list neighbors, like George Clooney and Alex Rodriguez, many of whom bought his art.
In fact, it was A-Rod who Mason says influenced him to show work at Art Basel Miami for the past two years.
“A-Rod blew me away. I was so impressed by his knowledge of art. It caught me off-guard a little bit.”
After 10 years in the league, Mason retired from hoops, and these days, he’s passionately focused on his craft in his Oklahoma City studio, where he paints everything from Céline bags to oversize canvases.
“I’m not a Hall of Famer and I’m not an All-Star either,” says Mason. “I won a dunk contest once. With art, I feel like I am working really hard and getting better.”

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Nicky80
Casamigos with Mr Clooney

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Re: Meet the NBA player-turned-artist who paints for George Clooney

Post by Donnamarie on Thu Feb 12 2015, 22:11

Very cool Nicky.  It's great that he found this talent within himself to take him beyond a basketball career.  Must be really fulfilling.

Donnamarie
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Re: Meet the NBA player-turned-artist who paints for George Clooney

Post by LornaDoone on Fri Feb 13 2015, 03:40

Love that warehouse space he is using as his studio.  View to the outside is fantastic and he has such a large space to work.

I'm always fascinated by those who can draw and paint.

LornaDoone
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Re: Meet the NBA player-turned-artist who paints for George Clooney

Post by it's me on Fri Feb 13 2015, 05:52

me too

and G does so Very Happy

it's me
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Re: Meet the NBA player-turned-artist who paints for George Clooney

Post by Hebe on Sun Feb 15 2015, 00:45

This story is also on New York Post and it includes more pictures that he has sold. There is a picture of a reproduction that George (and Rande) bought which is of a bottle of Casamigos!

Sorry I'm not not computer savvy enough to do a link

Hebe
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Re: Meet the NBA player-turned-artist who paints for George Clooney

Post by Nicky80 on Sun Feb 15 2015, 10:22

Thanks Hebe, link is already above, guess they updated the article  Thumbs up!

Starbucks honcho

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Howard Schultz bought this abstract of a face at Mason’s 2014 Seattle exhibit. The price: $14,000.

The golf guru

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Hank Haney (right), who coached Tiger Woods, snapped up this Jackson Pollock-like work for $10,000 in 2012.

The Hollywood star

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George Clooney’s tequila business, Casamigos, was immortalized in paint by Mason. The original piece is valued at $10,000; Clooney and Gerber each have $2,500 reproductions.

The sportscaster

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Joe Buck was attracted to the questions Mason painted on this canvas. He shelled out $8,500 for the work

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His big break: “I look back at it now and think, ‘It’s OK,’ but back then I thought I was Picasso,” says Mason of this early work, purchased by former NBA commissioner David Stern for $500.

Nicky80
Casamigos with Mr Clooney

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Re: Meet the NBA player-turned-artist who paints for George Clooney

Post by it's me on Sun Feb 15 2015, 10:44

nice paints

flower Thumbs up! cheers bravo!

it's me
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Re: Meet the NBA player-turned-artist who paints for George Clooney

Post by amaretti on Sun Feb 15 2015, 19:01

Yes . Very cool guy . Wonderful artist .

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Re: Meet the NBA player-turned-artist who paints for George Clooney

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