On Friday, the Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum will open a temporary exhibit by former professional basketball player and artist, Desmond Mason. “Generation Next: Chapter Two” will feature 15 of the artist’s unique paintings. Mason incorporates a wide range of media when creating his unique pieces. His passion for art reflects in his paintings.
I had the chance to talk to Desmond, a fellow Oklahoma State University graduate, earlier this week about the new exhibit. Look for that interview Friday.
Born in Waxahachie, Texas, Mason began his collegiate career on a basketball scholarship at OSU. His senior year, he was named All-American with the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Also during his senior year, Mason was first recognized nationally for his artistic side in Sports Illustrated.
“Obviously he represented us well on the court, but now people are discovering he is an individual with many talents.” said Burn Hargis, President of Oklahoma State University, in a news release.
A first-round draft pick in the 2000 NBA Draft, Mason began his professional career with the Seattle SuperSonics. During his 10 years in the NBA, he wore the jerseys of the Milwaukee Bucks, Oklahoma City Hornets and Thunder, and the Sacramento Kings.
After the NBA, Mason and his wife Andrea, former Cowgirl soccer player, decided to return to OKC and make it their home. They were drawn to the city’s growth and saw the opportunity to grow with the Oklahoma City.
“We love the people and the community here,” Mason said in the release. “I was very surprised by the amount of talented artists here in Oklahoma City. The attitude for the arts over the last three to five years is heading towards some of the great art communities in this country.”
As a child, Mason always had a passion for art. His love for art grew at about the age of 13 when he made his first ceramic. Mason continued to create art throughout his college career, and began selling his art after college. He founded the Desmond Mason Art Show, where he sold the entire first collection, as means to benefit others. To date, hundreds of his pieces have been sold worldwide through the annual event with proceeds benefitting local charities and causes. While playing for the Oklahoma City Hornets, one of Mason’s paintings earned $19,000 for Hornets’ charities during a live auction.
“Art calms me, it blesses me, it fills me and it has helped mold me because it allows me to be free,” said Mason in the release.
In addition to continuing with ceramics, Mason paints with latex, oils, watercolors and acrylics. He finds influence in styles from some of his favorite abstract artists – Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. However, his greatest inspiration comes from his college sweetheart and wife Andrea, and their two children, Jada, 6, and Elijah, 2.
“My son is about to be 3 years old and likes to scribble but my 6-year-old daughter is very artistically talented and that’s not just a loving dad saying that; that’s from an artist.” Mason said in the release.
When asked what inspired Mason to use his artwork as a means for charities and nonprofits, he replied in the release, “God blessed me with this talent; to explore it and use it to make a difference in lives, and I will continue to do that.”
“Generation Next: Chapter Two” will be on view through Oct. 27 at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum. An opening reception is set for 6 to 8 p.m. Friday. The reception is open to the public and will include wine. Admission is free for Oklahoma Heritage Association and Museum members and $25 for non-members. RSVP is required due to limited space. For questions or to RSVP, contact Corie Baker at 523-3211 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Gaylord-Pickens Museum is a nonprofit organization committed to preserving Oklahoma history and promoting pride in our great state. Through each of its high-tech and interactive programs, the association strives to tell Oklahoma’s story through its people.
For more information, go to www.oklahomaheritage.com.