Lucky me … the stars align again. Just as I am trying to immerse more art into my life, the company that I work for, Red Bull, appears to have the same mission. Simultaneously, it seems we both have dreams to expand. For years, Red Bull was exclusively linked to action sports and late nights. However, as of recently, the brand has branched out and extended its reach to other fields of interests, namely music and the arts. For anyone who is familiar with the Red Bull brand, you have likely heard about high-end events like Flugtag, Cliff Diving, and Air Race. These events put a twist on action sports, by packaging the competition as a full-scale production to create an experience rather than an event. In perfect Red Bull fashion, the brand is now cleverly jumping into the music and arts scene with the same creativity that has made Red Bull a staple in the marketing world.
Two weeks ago, three friends and I took advantage of a Red Bull event in Los Angeles that celebrated the end of the brand’s latest art campaign, Latagráfica. Since January, Red Bull commissioned ten Hispanic artists in the Los Angeles area to each paint a mural to pay homage to Los Angeles art and more specifically, Hispanic art. Latagráfica incorporated the Spanish word “puedes,” which means “you can” in English, by asking each artist to focus on the idea. Each month since January, an artist completed a mural, which was then unveiled at a release party. At the party, the mural artist and other artists showcased their work, rallying around the massive Hispanic culture present in southern California. For the final mural’s release, Red Bull decked out a venue called Plaza de la Raza with the best food trucks in Los Angeles, floral decorations, live vibrant music, artists’ books, a hailed, highlighted mural, and a studio displaying art conceptualized by the ten selected artists.
For those in LA immersed in the Hispanic art culture this may seem normal, but for me, the experience was eye-opening to the massive Hispanic art culture we all live in. The studio displayed a photo of every mural and additional pieces by the artists, both accompanied by a short blurb about each creator. The night started in the Red Bull Mission Vehicle, a converted pimped-out army truck, which picked the four of us up on campus and ended in a thumping locomotive party, whizzing on the highway back to Claremont and other surrounding colleges.
Next up for the brand is the highly anticipated calendar of events for the month of November. Red Bull has scheduled 60 music artists and bands to perform shows every single day of the month for the Red Bull Sound Select event series, 30 Days in LA. Some highlights include The Head and The Heart, Chance The Rapper, ASAP Mob, Chet Faker, and Juicy J. My roommate and I started out the month by attending the Wax on Wax show on November 5th at Madame Tussaud’s in Hollywood this past week and grooved out to Mayer Hawthorne’s old-school funky DJ set.
As a Boston city boy, I am continuously wowed by the general nature of our campus, the ubiquitous southern Californian sun, and the flowing opportunities that consistently wash over me. For someone who cherishes experiences, I know that we could not be in a better location situated to the cultural hub that is Los Angeles. Claremont is special by itself, but taking what is fostered on campus to outside events makes for something memorable. Personally, my experiences off-campus seem to outweigh my time spent on campus, but truthfully, they cannot be separated. Both are parts of the same narrative: going off campus makes being here even greater, just as being on campus makes leaving even better. My college experience has been shot with a wide lens – I feel as though I’ve taken in a lot of experiences – many of which had unforeseen benefits. Opportunities of this caliber are accessible to all Claremont students as long as you go out and actively seek them. Keeping an ear to the word on the street and attending to the numerous emails informing students of subsidized activities, like a $40 ticket to a notorious Cirque du Soleil show, can profoundly broaden your weekly possibilities. Personally, I’ve found that it is the go-getters, the doers, that tend to graduate from Claremont with the most gains, aspirations, and connection-points.
I take a different outlook on higher education; I believe that the main purpose of college is to provide students with as many experiences as possible. You may agree, of course, but I ask, are you actually working towards that end? I know most traditional educational settings do not approach this end in all its light. In general, educational institutions endorse student growth through showing students new things and ideas, and there is a lot to be said about stepping out-of-the-box to learn. However, students must take the initiative to follow this through. A high school teacher of mine coveted the phrase, “Your perspective is the constellation of your experiences,” and I could not agree more. Positioning yourself out of your norm is always an experience, and if you look out to the world seeking these opportunities, you will undoubtedly produce growth by building on these experiences; think constructivism.
In my mind, extracurricular events, which closely resemble childhood field trips, compliment traditional schooling beautifully, filling in all the voids that traditional classroom settings leave gaping. Field trips give your mind a place to hold knowledge, information, and concepts, and when I look back on the sceneries and symphonies of memory that numerous experiences have gifted me, I know I will never forget those mental sights, mental constructs, or mental pictures. I hold onto the knowledge and lessons that I learned at music shows, art exhibits, and walks-around-the-city effortlessly since these times emit a certain clout as they are basked in elation, brotherhood, action, adversity; times that rest at the forefront. It is as if in those times, I optimized my memory and thus created timeless art.
The common look-outs of Green Beach, the Hub, glass-plated Kravis classrooms, and the Athenaeum stage do not mean anything without perspective. These type of “other world” events are so rich in perspective that it is nearly impossible not to be wooed and extremely stimulated by experiences that alter your fundamental construct. In sum, I see my college experience as an alternative lifestyle of learning successfully leading me towards becoming a life-long learner and life-long enjoyer. At the end of the day or at the end of your career here at CMC, at least once, I want each of you to adopt my CMC perspective because, boy, it is a damn good one. Celebrate life; school should teach us more of that.