Orange Leaf & Kevin Durant

This summer, Orange Leaf & Kevin Durant invited kids to share their ideas on ways they can give back to their community.  

Film produced by CHOATE HOUSE.

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Orange Leaf, Kevin Durant, CHOATE HOUSE

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Nicole & Mohamed // Wedding

One year ago, we spent the evening with Nicole and Mohamed at a friend's little dinner party. Though the two of them had just recently met, we mentioned on the drive home they totally had to get married. Incredibly happy for them. Together, they are absolute perfection.

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Film and Images by ©CHOATE HOUSE

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Morgan Family

Spent the morning with the sweetest family taking life in with baby Forester. 

Film and Image by ©CHOATE HOUSE

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Lauren and Nate

He surprised her with flowers in the space her grandparents fell in love. A sample photo + film engagement session.

Film and Images by ©CHOATE HOUSE

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CHOATE HOUSE, engaged, Bridal

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NEW YORK POST / COVER SPOT

Our film was recently featured on the cover spot of the NEW YORK POST:

The NBA player-turned-artist who paints for George Clooney. A film documenting American artist Desmond Mason's creative process. By Kirsten Fleming February 11, 2015 | 8:41pm

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. 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. 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.”

Film Produced by ©CHOATE HOUSE 

STARBUCKS HONCHO

Howard Schultz bought this abstract of a face at Mason’s 2014 Seattle exhibit. The price: $14,000.Photo: AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade (Schultz)

As the former owner of the Seattle SuperSonics, Schultz and Mason have a history. When he was playing for Schultz, the then-24-year-old went to the mogul’s home and told the Starbucks CEO that, while his coffee was good, his pastries were terrible. “I walked out of there thinking, ‘What did I just do?’ ” recalls Mason with a laugh. Their relationship became strained when, after two seasons, Mason was traded to Milwaukee. “I took it personally. I was so emotional.” They later made up, and in the fall of 2014, Schultz attended Mason’s show in Seattle, where he bought a 60-by-80-inch piece done in oil, acrylic and latex paint — a “dream come true,” according to Mason. “I was in a phase of doing faces. They were selling well on a [summer 2013] tour in Asia, and people were commissioning them,” says Mason. After the show, the artist went back to Schultz’s house. But instead of assessing pastries, they looked at Schultz’s art collection and talked about life. “He told me he was proud of me.”

THE GOLF GURU

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

In 2012, Mason lined up four 40-by-40-inch canvases and live-painted them as one piece during an Oklahoma City festival, which drew A-Rod and Hank Haney, who coached Tiger Woods. Mason used paint rollers, acrylics, oil paint and spray paint to create this large-scale work. “It was too colorful, so I took a half-gallon can of white latex paint and slowly used rollers over the canvases. It was really hot outside, so the paint dried fast and caked on thick and crackled,” says Mason, who likened the effect to confetti. He broke up the canvases and sold them separately. Golf maestro Haney scooped one up.

THE HOLLYWOOD STAR

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.Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images (Clooney)

Nine years ago, Mason bought a vacation home in Cabo San Lucas in the same development as Clooney, nightlife guru Gerber and mogul Mike Meldman. “They’re friends and neighbors,” says Mason of his pals, who all live in a complex called El Dorado. The trio (Clooney, Gerber and Meldman) launched Casamigos tequila in 2013. Mason collaborated with his artist pal Paul Snyder to create this ode to their booze — a replica of the bottle against one of Mason’s colorful backgrounds. The former hoopster designed it, while Snyder, a hyper-realist, painted part of the bottle. The 30-by-40-inch piece took roughly 25 hours to create. The original is hanging in Meldman’s home office, while Clooney has a reproduction in his Cabo home and Gerber has a copy in his LA office.

THE SPORTSCASTER

Joe Buck was attracted to the questions Mason painted on this canvas. He shelled out $8,500 for the work.Photo: Tibrina Hobson/WireImage (Buck)

The 30-by-40-inch work, titled “Who,” caught the eye of the sportscaster during one of Mason’s exhibits in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. “It was an emotional piece. It was just asking the hard questions that kids and adults ask themselves,” says Mason, who let the layers of paint half-dry before writing questions like “Who has the right to judge?” and “Who loves me?” with the handle of his brush. “I had to nail it on the first try.”

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Brittney & Marshall // Wedding

From the proposal to preparing, the experience of recording the wedding story of Brittney & Marshall has been beautiful.

Film and Images by ©CHOATE HOUSE

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CHOATE HOUSE, Wedding, Plenty Mercantile

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VIDYA SEASONAL KITCHEN | WINTER

Photos and Film Produced by CHOATE HOUSE
Cinematography & Editing by Jeremy and Kara Choate
Styling by Claire Ragozzino 
Client: Vidya Cleanse
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Each season, Claire Ragozzino shares a peek inside her kitchen and what she’s cooking to create balanced health. Eating seasonally is a way to nourish and connect in with the fluid rhythms of the earth and our evolving health needs. The Vidya Seasonal Kitchen series shows that seasonal eating can be simple, nourishing and satisfying to the body, mind and spirit. Sometimes health means savoring the sweeter parts of life. This holiday, find bliss in sharing these earl grey, orange and dark chocolate cinnamon buns. 
For more seasonally-inspired plant-based recipes, visit vidyacleanse.com

EARL GREY, ORANGE & CHOCOLATE CINNAMON BUNS

Yeast
½ cup almond milk
½ cup earl grey tea
1 packet yeast
1 tsp coconut sugar

Boil hot water, steep 2 bags earl gray tea in ½ cup water. After 15 minutes remove the tea bags. In a medium saucepan, heat the almond milk together on a low heat. Remove and pour into a small bowl. Test temperature before adding yeast, you want it around 100-110 degrees F. Stir in the yeast and a sugar, then allow to activate for 15-20 minutes. The yeast is active when it starts to create bubbles on the surface of the bowl.

Dough
3 cups spelt flour
½ cup coconut sugar
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda  
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
½ orange, juiced & zested
¼ cup cold ghee, cubed (or coconut oil)

In a mixing bowl, combine the spelt flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix lightly. Next, add the orange juice, zest and cubed ghee, slowly mixing until well incorporated and the mixture begins to form in a slightly wet and sticky ball of dough. On a dry surface, sprinkle spelt flour and knead the ball of dough 130 times (about 3-5 minutes). Place back in the mixing bowl, cover with a damp cloth and allow dough to rise for 1-2 hours. Once ready, roll the dough out. Brush a little melted ghee or coconut oil on top and sprinkle a layer of cinnamon on top, then spoon the filling mixture evenly across the dough followed by a sprinkling of the crushed chocolate chunks. Gently roll the dough into a log. Use a sharp knife to score the cinnamon rolls, then gently cut and place into a greased baking pan. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes. The cinnamon buns should be slightly hardened on the outside while still soft and gooey on the inside. Remove from oven and serve hot with {many!} heaping helpings of frosting. 

Filling
½ orange, juiced & zested
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp ghee (or coconut oil)
4 tbsp maple syrup
½ cup pecans, chopped
1 bar extra dark chocolate, crushed
Optional: 1 fuyu persimmon, diced (when in season)

In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients and heat on medium low. Stir frequently to avoid clumping. The mixture will become thick and sticky. Remove from heat and spread evenly on the rolled out dough. On top sprinkle the crushed chocolate bar evenly across the dough. 

Orange Frosting
1 ½ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup melted coconut oil
2 oranges, juiced & zested
1 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp vanilla bean
pinch of Himalayan pink salt

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender, puree until creamy. Transfer to a bowl and store in your fridge to thicken before spreading on the cinnamon rolls.

Film and Images by ©CHOATE HOUSE

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The Mother Love

Morning moment with &Kathleen. From a film for The Mother Love coming up soon.

Image by ©CHOATE HOUSE

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Commercial, Family

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Always Greener

They inspire others by doing what they love. So fun making this piece to share the story of Always Greener

Film by ©CHOATE HOUSE

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Wedding Day

Brittney on her wedding day.

Image by ©CHOATE HOUSE

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Wedding

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VIDYA SEASONAL KITCHEN | FALL

Each season, Claire Ragozzino shares a peek inside her kitchen and what she’s cooking to create balanced health. Eating seasonally is a way to nourish and connect in with the fluid cycles of the earth and our evolving health needs. The Vidya Seasonal Kitchen series shows that seasonal eating can be simple, nourishing and satisfying to the body, mind and spirit. Sometimes health means slowing down and enjoying the journey. Celebrate Autumn’s harvest with this recipe for a roasted red kuri squash with slow-cooked quinoa, apple and savory herb stuffing. For more seasonally-inspired plant-based recipes, visit vidyacleanse.com.

RED KURI SQUASH WITH SAVORY APPLE QUINOA STUFFING

Squash - 2 medium squash (red kuri, acorn, or pumpkin), deseeded & quartered, 4 tbsp olive oil, salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Clean and cut the squash into 4 large slices each. Coat well in olive oil and sprinkle of salt and pepper. Place in a baking pan with ½-inch of water, cover with foil to create a steaming effect on the squash. Roast for 20 minutes, then remove foil and allow to cook for another 15 minutes or until done.

Quinoa Stuffing - 5 cups water, 5 tbsp olive oil, 2 cups red quinoa, 12 shiitake mushrooms chopped, 1 onion diced, 2 cloves garlic minced, 4 tbsp fresh sage minced, 2 tbsp fresh rosemary minced, 1 tbsp fresh thyme minced, 3 tbsp tamari, 1 tsp sel fumé (smoked salt)

2 apples - cored & diced, 1 cup walnuts chopped, 1 bunch collard greens finely chopped, 2 lemons juiced

In a large pot or dutch oven, bring 5 cups of water to a boil on your stovetop. Add the quinoa, mushrooms, onions, garlics, herbs, tamari and salt. Cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, or until quinoa is slightly soft. Add the apples, walnuts, collard greens and lemon juice, stir until well combined. Cook for another 5-10 minutes. If the quinoa is still firm, add another cup of water and allow to cook until done. Remove from heat and serve hot.

To serve, scoop a cup of the stuffing onto a quarter of roasted squash. Sprinkle with chopped greens, pomegranate seeds, and feta (if desired). Serves 6-8

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Commercial

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Hope & Taylor - Engaged

Film by ©CHOATE HOUSE

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Brittney & Marshall

Conquerer of cancer, Marshall Matlock, found his partner for life. "An awful lot had to happen for our paths to cross. What sometimes seems like insurmountable calamities in the moment can prove to be blessings in hindsight." Here's to the beginning of their incredible story. 

Produced by CHOATE HOUSE

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CHOATE HOUSE, proposal, engaged, Plenty Mercantile, Swab Squad

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