A six-minute video honoring "Mr. Rose Parade," produced by two students from the Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) Film and Electronic Arts Department, is to be acquired by the Smithsonian Institution’s American History Collection, the university announced Tuesday. The video by Rod Velasquez and Zachary Stuart is a tribute to the late Raul R. Rodriguez, a CSULB alumnus and a revered Tournament of Roses Parade float designer.
“Raul Rodriguez had such an incredible influence on float design and I wanted to undertake a project where the facilitation between ideas, impact and artwork were fundamental in the presentation of the video,” stated Velasquez, a documentary production major at CSULB. “The experience making the video was amazing. Learning about Raul and his robust accomplishments gave me a newfound appreciation for the creative artwork that goes into the Rose Parade. Learning of Raul's impact was very inspiring. It made me feel like anything can be possible.”
Still of a scene from Mr. Rose Parade.
Rodriguez created his first Rose Parade float at the young age of 15, while since then the revered designer had created more than 500 floats for the parade. Rodriguez, who was often seen with this feathered friend, a blue hyacinth macaw (a type of parrot) named Sebastian, won more awards than any other designer in the history of the parade, including the Sweepstakes Trophy an impressive 23 times, the parade’s highest honor for the most beautiful entry with outstanding floral presentation, according to the release.
Rodriguez designed his final float in 2014.
The students’ video, entitled Mr. Rose Parade, was recently shown at the Live on Green pre-parade exhibits in Pasadena.
“We were asked to create a tribute to Raul that would connect with millennials,” said Stuart, a production management major, in a statement. “Once I researched Raul, I fell in love with his artwork and spirit and ultimately felt compelled to do him justice. It was an amazing experience about an amazing person.”
Among his countless creations, Rodriguez designed the opening stage set for the World’s Fair in New Orleans, was art director for Philadelphia’s “We the People 200” United States’ Bicentennial Parade and consultant to the Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Rodriguez’s designs have adorned the Flamingo Hilton, Tropicana, Caesars Palace and Circus Circus hotels. He also created concepts for Harley-Davidson, the Walt Disney Company, Universal Studios, Landmark Entertainment and Radio City Music Hall. He was also the creator of Six Flags’ “Glow in the Park” parade.
As a children’s books illustrator, Rodriguez was also honored as a distinguished alumnus for the College of the Arts at CSULB in 1993, according to the release. For more information about Rodriguez, read the New York Times piece here.