From Court to Canvas, Desmond Mason’s Careers Have Remained In (The) Paint
By Stacey Gualandi
Watching Desmond Mason work a jam-packed art gallery is the same as watching the former NBA star finesse his way down the court for one of his signature “ slam dunks.” He keeps his eye on the crowd, tries a zone defense with a critic, gets an assist from a potential investor, lays up…and then, boom! Sold. Nothing but net. The only difference here is hoop fans are now art enthusiasts, and the two-pointers are his one-of-a-kind art pieces.
As a forward with a 7-foot wingspan for the Seattle SuperSonics, and later with the Milwaukee Bucks, Mason spent the better part of 10 years shooting “ in the paint.” Now, he puts paint to canvas, with his personal take on abstract expressionism. His latest collection was on full display recently for an at-capacity crowd inside the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, proceeds from the event benefitting two charities: Kickin’ Childhood Hunger and The Public Education Foundation.
“ I’m excited, honored, blessed and humbled,” says Mason. “ I’ve been here 2 years, and every time, my goals are to make it better, and to have a bigger show. We do it for all the right reasons.”
Not one to warm the retirement bench, Mason opted to continue his lifelong passion for painting in 2010. It was a passion that saved him from drugs and violence as a young boy growing up in Texas. While at Oklahoma State University, he maintained a “ traveling studio” of artwork to showcase. And just after his rookie year in the NBA, he had his first show.
“ I knew that I would paint forever: whether it was for monetary value, or charitable purposes, it was always going to be a part of my life,” admits Mason.
The father of two took a shot and it’s paying off. Mason has sold many of his original works to high-profile art collectors (ahem…George Clooney!) and he continues to evolve as an artist.
DLXVRSN Magazine caught up with the “ dunking savant” -turned- visual artist in Las Vegas to talk overcoming childhood tragedy, giving back and selling his very first painting.
His motto has and always will be: “ You evolve or you dissolve. The world continues to move on and you have to find a way to keep up. For me, I just want to be known as an artist.” It looks like Mason has scored another slam-dunk. […] Continue reading on Page 42-43