A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to witness art being created in a somewhat orchestral fashion. The hottest names in the Bay Area urban art scene had convened at 941 Geary Gallery painting Red Bull canvas-wrapped coolers as part of a recently expanded global street art partnership between the brand and the those tapped to participate in the project. The individual canvas cooler customization undertaking was captured on film by award winning filmmaker and photographer Robert Christian Malmberg, who was on hand daily and often late into the evening to document the creative process. What was interesting about the artwork creation was the scope and how seamlessly the many moving parts came together.
As someone familiar with branded entertainment, I was excited to learn about this new venture between Red Bull and street art. At times, branded content can seem contrived but it was clear that Red Bull's foray into the art world was a well oiled maneuver from the onset. A carefully made match that had enjoyed a successful campaign in the United Kingdom before venturing into the U.S. market, it was in London that Red Bull had the good fortune to connect with international street art phenomenon EINE, celebrated for his typography seen in urban environments across the globe. EINE shot to instant celebrity in 2010 when the British prime minister made a gift of one of his original works to President Obama, and has enjoyed inclusion in the White House collection ever since. EINE led Red Bull's initial venture with great success, along with fellow British artists Serge Seidlitz, Inkie, Toaster, Yehrin Tong, Dave White, Mister Batlow, INSA, Discoteck, Alfa, Jethro Haynes, Jennifer Crouch, Miss Led, Mr Gauky, Rif, Copyright, Chrissy Abbott and Sam Coldy.
Following the inaugural triumph, Red Bull endeavored to enter the San Francisco market enlisting the creative agency Term of Art to recruit Canvas Cooler participants with this now coveted street art distinction. Engaging the expertise of Justin Giarla and Arts Fund, Term of Art effectively mobilized preeminent Bay Area artists to create an unparalleled roster of participants including Erik Otto, Chor Boogie, APEX, Ian Ross, Charmaine Olivia, Jessica Hess, Hugh Leeman, Estria, and Brett Amory among others, in the customization of canvas wrapped Red Bull fridges which will later be shipped to venues around San Francisco. Once in their respective venues, the coolers will remain on display as functional pieces of original artwork.
"Canvas Cooler San Francisco is a valuable and stimulating experience: ﬁne talents making functional works of art, bringing the community together through creative processes, and using form and function to express individualism all connecting to the greater project," quoth Robert Christian Malmberg, Director of the ﬁlm project for Canvas Cooler SF.
Red Bull is following through on its commitment to street art with yet another project -- the launch of their street art application called Red Bull Street Art View. Billed on the site as "a collaborative collection of sites from Google street view showcasing street art all over the globe," the site prompts users to "tag" locations with their favorite street art with the goal is to create the most comprehensive street art collection to date. With thousands of entries of public street art installations around the world from renowned artists including Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Space Invader, Keith Haring and local and emerging artists alike, Street Art View is quickly on its way to achieving that goal.
Red Bull Canvas Cooler has been given the green light for a 2012 expansion in three additional U.S. cities including, Miami, Los Angeles and New York City with a special jury panel assembled to judge and award prizes for the work.
A special exhibition sponsored by Red Bull and Justin Giarla of White Walls Gallery will be held on November 3rd at 941 Geary Gallery in the Tenderloin where the 20 Canvas Coolers will be on display to the public for the first time.
Correction: A photo that had been labeled as depicting CHEZ in fact depicts JURNE.