Did they philosophize over turning meme into art while they built the diorama?
“No, we were focused,” Hustings said. “We were the Peeps dream team.”
Finalist: The Black Peep
Derek Hills and Brinda Krishnan, both 38, have serious and arguably staid professions. Hills is an IT project manager. Krishnan is a psychiatrist. But deep down, they’re hard-core crafters.
“I grew up in that whole Fugazi scene,” Krishnan said. “I’ve been going there since there was a Black Cat. I love that venue. We live near it, so we just know that outside scene.”
And that smoky, bustling place they re-created with bearded hipsters, jumbo slices, bunnies clad in flannel, and, yes, even a stolen bicycle, does justice to every weekend show at the popular 14th Street nightclub.
It took nine days to build “The Black Peep,” an homage to what Hills calls “a local arts scene fixture.” Krishnan designed the costumes from old fabric swatches. “I’ve done a lot of work in miniature. I did my residency in Portland, so let’s just say I’m good at folding fabrics.”
Krishnan crafted knit dresses from old socks and found a blue book cover to make jeans. “It would have been hard to make skinny jeans for Peeps out of denim.”
The hardest part, though, was getting those Peepsters to stand up.
“We had to figure out the right type of glue; the pipe cleaners would eat away at the marshmallow, and they’d fall,” Hills said.
The best part of their homage to the local music venue is the couple’s inside joke. “We’re living vicariously through the Peeps,” she said. “There’s a poster for ‘Not My Sister’ on the wall, and that’s my band. Derek didn’t tell me he was adding that. The Peeps are coming to see my band!”
Maybe the real Black Cat will take the hint.
Finalist: Peepius Maximus
He’s never seen “Gladiator” or been to Rome, but Mark Rivetti, 28, of Washington had a tiny wire gate he wanted to use for his diorama entry. “I had the gate, and then I had the idea for the lion, then I added a gladiator,” he said. “Then I figured I might as well incorporate a lot of Peeps.”
So he built the Colosseum.
“I also like to pay tribute to scenes from the past, things everyone is familiar with.”
By far the largest entry we’ve ever received, this three-level architectural feat re-creates the man-vs.-beast of Roman antiquity. To portray the gladiator games, Rivetti built Peep sculptures and the body of the lion from painted clay, and incorporated Peeps in unexpected ways, using them as materials, not just figures.
“I had the sugar-free chick Peeps, and I thought I could make them into a lion’s head,” said Rivetti, who turned them on their side and colored them with acrylic paint. Other impressive details included the hundred-plus onlookers clothed in togas that his girlfriend, Meg Waltner, made. Judges here appreciated the gladiator’s shield. “It’s a knob from my kitchen cabinet,” Rivetti said. “I’ll want that back.”
It took him 50 hours to build the semi-circular amphitheater from foam core board. “Sizing it was the hardest part,” said the professional architect. “The slopes of the stands were the most technically challenging.”
Rivetti was a finalist three years ago for “Peepativity,” a diorama based on the lithograph print by artist M.C. Escher. This year, Rivetti chose to include an underground element — where, yes, lions are munching on Peeps — after seeing the winning entry of 2011, the Chilean CoPeepapo Mine Rescue. “I [also] did a Chilean mine rescue last year, but didn’t include an underground element,” he said. “I wanted to challenge myself this year.”
Despite his careful planning, his creation did have one close call. “My cat jumped in it at one point. ... Luckily, nothing was destroyed.”
Q&A: Chat with contest organizers Monday at 11 a.m. ET
PHOTOS: Peep Show VI: See the five finalists and dozens of the best entries
VIDEOS: A closer look at our top five entries
POLL: Vote for your favorite entry
PHOTOS: Political Peeps
PHOTOS: Peeps in D.C.
PHOTOS: Kid-created Peeps
STORY: Royal Wedding Peeps
PHOTOS: See all entries and upload your own
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