Before the contest began, we predicted that Occupy D.C. and its spinoffs would dominate submissions, and they did: There were dozens of Occupy-related entries from the 755 entries received. An OccuPeep entry took on an air of inevitability.
But surprises emerged: a homespun miniature homage to the Black Caton 14th Street NW. An inventive joke born of Internet memedom. A massive memorial to Roman antiquity.
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These dark horses wooed with their rhetoric and glitz, each claiming small pockets of rowdy newsroom loyalists.
On Super Tuesday, approximately a third of our newsroom voted. The vote was tight. Exit polls indicated nothing, and a brokered convention looked likely. We almost called in Chris Cillizza to inspect a hanging chad. In the end, the results emulated the lessons of the 2012 Republican primary season: Buzzy cult favorites divided the vote. And the preordained, perfectly executed memorial to the tents of McPherson Square won by a sugary sliver.
As always with this contest, art imitated life, highlighting the farcical fabulousness of human behavior long after submissions stopped pouring in. Read on for profiles of the candidates, um, finalists.
The Winner: OccuP eep D.C.
Cori E. Wright, 38, of Falls Church didn’t think she would have so much trouble painting faux cement. An artist and painter by trade, shading the stones in acrylics seemed easier than staging a dozen OccuPeep D.C. vignettes. “I glued the towel down first for grass and then painted the sidewalk and kept adding multiple layers of glaze,” Wright said. “I wanted the towel and cement to look muddied, and for some reason, getting the color right was a struggle for me.”
It was this realistic, almost obsessive precision that led us to choose OccuPeep D.C. as our winner. Wright left no detail to chance. She modeled the entire project in GIMP, a modeling program like Photoshop. “I figured out a Peep is 3.5 percent the size of an average man,” she said. “I scaled the entire project off that.”
She has entered the contest for the past three years, and “noticed you have to pay attention to tiny details to become a finalist.” Which is why she added the rats, our favorite accessory, which she made out of sculpted clay. “Living with the news all the time, you’d always hear about the rats and the ‘V for Vendetta’ mask, which is why I included them.”
She also took photos of McPherson Square, and then straightened them “because taking photos from the street level alters the perspective” before mounting them on Masonite boards.