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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Red Bull asks artists to make art out of Red Bull

Posted By on Sat, Oct 18, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Well, we spoke too soon. Not long after we playfully ribbed Sierra Mist for enlisting artists to create art about Sierra Mist (and said "Red Bull is more subtle in their branding, though, and they certainly never ask its artists to make art about Red Bull"), we're told that Red Bull is sponsoring a contest in Chicago in which artists were asked to make sculptures out of — you guessed it — Red Bull cans.

The contest represents some local talent, including Ben Goraj of Dearborn Heights, Sunshine Durant of Dearborn, Paolo Pedini of Lathrup Village, and Mike Sackey of Warren. We called up Goraj to ask about working in a new (corporate) medium.

Since he was already making art using aluminum cans to create what he calls "modular metal origami," he says it wasn't a big stretch for him at all. "At my desk job, I have plenty of time between phone calls and emails," Goraj says, who works a day gig in the office at U-M Dearborn. "There's a lot of recycling bins on campus, too, and I just started looking for Arizona Iced Tea cans and things that didn't have refunds on them," he says.

"As a contestant, I felt so privileged to have something that was so in my zone," he tells us. "I knew what I was doing."

Did Red Bull provide the cans? "No, I had to hunt those down," he says. "It was kind of tricky, actually. I wanted to use the 20 oz. cans, which I believe are the largest. You'd have to be a big fiend to get through 20 ounces — I had a hard time finding the big 20 oz. cans." Goraj says he amassed more than 900 cans for his project, in which he created polygonal orbs made out of the different size cans of Red Bull.

Did Goraj drink 900 cans of Red Bull? That's probably not healthy. "No, a small fraction of that was actually consumed by me," he says. He collected the cans by going to different party stores, scrounging around on campus recycling bins, and asking his friends to keep an eye out.

The Red Bull Art of Can competition will come to Chicago Nov. 7 - 16 at the Chase Promenade South in Millennium Park. More than 300 artists submitted concepts, which has been whittled down to 30 pieces representing 13 states that will be on display. A panel of judges will whittle the competition down to the top three on Nov. 7, and a "people's choice" winner will be announced Nov. 16.

The exposition will be open Monday - Friday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. - 10 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. More information is available at The exhibition is free and open to the public.

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