Go [Nickname to Be Determined]!!! The Post’s CSULB mascot contest, Day 5

When we found out that Cal State Long Beach was looking for a new nickname/mascot, we could not have been happier. The only thing “49ers” told you about the school is when it was founded (1949).

Now, entering its 70th year, it’s time for a nickname/mascot that reflects what it’s become. And we want YOU to tell us what that is. But please, no lions or tigers or bears, OK? We want a nickname/mascot that reflects the Cal State Long Beach experience: the people, the parking (or lack thereof), the fact that no one will look you in the eye, whatever, we want your names and your images.

To get you started, we’ve asked five terrific illustrators/artists to have a run at it. We’ll release one of their efforts each day this week. Have a look. Be inspired. Send us something. And Go [Nickname To Be Determined]!!!

Artist and illustrator Dave Van Patten chose the brain cell as the CSULB mascot “because it’s the fundamental part of the college experience whether it be building up the brain cells in class throughout the week, or destroying brain cells with beer over the weekend.”

Van Patten says he had a “Chris-Farley-in-Tommy-Boy type of college experience” because it took him nine years to graduate—he took two years off during the seven years he was actually taking classes.

“It’s easy to view me as a slacker, but I honestly think it took so long because I didn’t want to leave,” Van Patten said. “I kept changing my major. I started as an art major and after the first semester I needed a break from the thing I had been doing my whole life, so my curiosity led me to change my major to film and philosophy. Even later I changed it to creative writing and stuck with that. My favorite professors were Pomroy, Mohr, Locklin Sr., and Weinstock.”

The artist remembers a moment that summed up his college career, when he was speaking with a professor after class one day about his mental state at the time. He told the professor, “I feel like the rug has been pulled out from under me, shaking my ideological foundations. I used to feel like I knew the answers, but now I feel like I know nothing.” They responded, “Welcome to adulthood.”

Van Patten, a Long Beach-based artist, illustrator and muralist, has been a participant in POW! WOW! Long Beach,  done album work for bands including The Grateful Dead (Live Concert Series) and has been published in Juxtapoz, Vice and more. Learn more about the artist on his website here and Instagram @davevanpatten.

Submission Requirements
  • Email your digital original or scanned image of your art to [email protected] (file must be in JPG or PNG format, 1200px across).
  • In your email, please include a bio, including your full name, age and what connection, if any, you have to CSULB and a description of your mascot, including its name and how it represents the university.
  • Mail or drop off original artwork or print (no larger than 16″x12″) to the Long Beach Post offices at 211 E. Ocean Boulevard, #400, Long Beach, CA 90802 (thanks to Linco Inc., we will be framing submissions to be displayed and judged by a panel during an art show in January; exact date TBD).
  • All submissions—digital image, physical artwork, artist bio and mascot description—must be turned in on or before Monday, Dec. 31.
  • Any questions? Email [email protected] and/or [email protected]

Disclaimer: The Post’s “CSULB new nickname/mascot contest” is not in partnership with or have any official connection to CSULB. Though we did approach specific artists/illustrators who attend or teach at CSULB about submitting their work and we intend on presenting the best submissions to appropriate parties at CSULB, no one in the CSULB administration has ever been consulted about the creation or conduct of the contest.


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Steve Lowery began his journalism career at the Los Angeles Times, where he planned to spend his entire career. God, as usual, laughed at his plans and he has since written for the short-lived sports publication The National, the L.A. Daily News, the Press-Telegram, New Times LA, the District and the OC Weekly. He is the Arts & Culture Editor for the Post, overseeing the Hi-lo.