Mason began his professional career at 12 years old after meeting with local children’s book author, Kat Pigott, who was struggling to find an animator for her new book series, Green Dinosaur Pancakes.
“It was a catastrophe," Pigott recalled. "No one could do it. They’re like, ‘What are you talking about? No, no, no ,no.’”
She found her illustrator by chance.
Pigott says she saw an article about Mason in the local newspaper and met with the preteen at a local subway.
“I said, ‘Mason, could you draw me a picture of a dinosaur coming out of a pancake? Like the pancake is turning into this real dinosaur?’ And he did it.”
Sky is the limit
Mason’s artistic talents don’t just end with drawing. With the book being about dinosaur pancakes, Mason became an expert in pancake art.
“Any kind of new art, I want to try it. 'Cause, you know, if you stick to something too long, you’re not going to be able to explore and branch out.”
Mason's artistic talents are numerous and varied. He draws on paper and on his tablet. He also paints canvas and faces for theatrical performances. Mason builds sand art, paints murals and set designs, does stick art, pumpkin carvings, and animation cells. You get the idea... The sky's the limit with this kid.
“We always said it’s a God-given talent. He’s never really had an art lesson and I can’t draw, so it’s just a God-given talent,” Mason's father, Troy Sibley, said.
Learning from the best
Mason’s art has also caught the attention of Disney. He has always had a fascination with Walt Disney. Every opportunity he had, he would go to Disney World and try to meet and network with animators at the company. A few animators have even become mentors to Mason.
The only thing that makes Mason hesitant about a career in animation is the direction the industry, particularly the movie industry, is moving towards.
“Growing up, I did all this research. I did everything you could think of researching Disney. Unfortunately, I researched the 50s [when animation was drawn]," Mason said. "Animation though, is now click move, click move, click move. If it continues down the digital path, I’d probably go towards the designing group because that is where pen and paper still have their part."
Art for healing
Mason still makes time for special projects he holds dear. He designs bead boxes for pediatric cancer patients in New Orleans. Every time a cancer patient makes a breakthrough in their treatment, they put a bead in the box.
Instead of giving them a plain, boring box, Mason paints Disney characters on them and "spruces them up."