Arts & Life, Features

The CSULB Color Collection: Chris Rivera

Despite his hectic schedule, first-year design major Chris Rivera is constantly thinking of new ways to incorporate his skills into his artistic works. 

Rivera splits his time between his band, his classes and his work in the Long Beach Public Library. Amid all of this, he has somehow managed to generate a passionate, local following for his music.

“Design just really intrigues me because you could take something that’s abstract in your mind and then bring it into reality,” Rivera said. 

Rivera sees music as an extension of design. 

Rivera originally planned on becoming an English teacher before gravitating to 3D design. While designing in his free time, the staff there inspired him to take his passion more seriously. 

“I was kind of in denial,” Rivera said. “English for me was a more guaranteed route to success, [but] art was what I really wanted to do but it was more risky, but I just decided to commit to that risk.”

Currently, Rivera currently works at the Billie Jean King Main Library as a studio guide, teaching others how to work with 3D printers and laser cutters. 

Rivera’s coworker, Gabriel Gaete, also teaches library visitors design. Rivera met Gaete four years ago kick-starting his artistic career and studies. 

“He’s one of those people who’s really fun to be around and joke with, [and] he’s really open to sharing his art, he left a really good impression,” Gaete said. “It’s really neat to see some of the things I taught him and how he applies it in his own unique way and now he works with me.”

With his childhood friends, Rivera is part of the band Lovekraft, which formed in 2013. The group has a following in Whittier and attracts local crowds.

Bandmate Javier Garcia has been friends with Rivera for 16 years. The two have always bonded through their love of music.

“He’s a real self-sufficient DIY guy who would always show us we can do things ourselves,” Garcia said. “Whether it be record our own music, do our own visual projections, throw our own shows, or making merchandise for our band.” 

Rivera wrote the song “Silent Slippin” in high school. Although the song has 228,000 plays on Soundcloud, he looks back at the song as “cringey.”

“To me, a song is like an awkward photo,” Rivera said. “[It’s like] taking photos with my friends and I don’t like the way I came out in it, but all my friends are still in it so I still like it.”

The band is releasing a song called “New Whip.” The song is about being a teenager stuck at home, being saved by a mystery car and going out on a reckless adventure. This song is inspired by Rivera’s teenage years when he would sit at home and wish he had a car to visit his friends who lived far away. 

Rivera practices with the band on weekends has classes from Monday through Thursday and works at the library four or five days a week. But this busy schedule doesn’t stop him from enjoying what he creates. 

Two years ago, Rivera and his partner created a visual company called Pleasure Palace. They create animations and project them behind bands at music shows, also known as installation art.

Having experimented in multiple facets of design, Rivera feels confident enough to one day have his own firm and direct his own group of designers. 

“When you make something you really love, all these good things start to gravitate towards you,” Rivera said.  “I noticed that once I fully committed to being an artist and pursuing design, more doors opened for me.” 

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