Someday, Matteo Lopez of South San Francisco, Calif., wants to be an astronaut and explore space life. Today, the 7-year-old Monte Verde Elementary School student is the winner of the 2011 Doodle 4 Google competition, beating out 107,000 other submissions and gaining the majority of the 5 million votes cast to decide the best Google Doodle designer among 40 finalists.
Matteo’s logo, made with markers and colored pencils, creatively uses the Google letters, depicting a green alien, Earth, an astronaut in a space suit, lunar lander, rocket ship, and meteor. The logo will be featured on Google’s U.S. homepage today.
In a brief appearance on the “Today Show” this morning with Google VP Marissa Mayer, Matteo said he was inspired by Neil Armstrong.
Impressively, Matteo’s Doodle beat out high school artists. For his victory, Matteo earned a $15,000 college scholarship, a netbook computer, and his school will receive a $25,000 grant.
Google also announced three national finalists:
- Grades 4-6: Joseph Eugene Miller, Grade 4, Andersen Elementary School, Wilmington, N.C., for his space-themed “My Galaxy.”
- Grades 7-9: Justas Varpucanskis, Grade 7, Mokena Junior High School, Mokena, Ill., for his underwater-themed “The Majestic Sea.”
- Grades 10-12: Hannah Newsom, Grade 11, Glenwood Homeschool, Fayetteville, Ark., for her storybook artist-themed “Illustration.”
The Doodles of all 40 finalists will be on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York through June 16 and at SFMOMA in San Francisco through July 19. The 40 finalists also met the guest Doodle 4 Google competition judges (actress/TV show host Whoopi Goldberg, cartoonist Jim Davis, figure skater Evan Lysacek, and several other cartoonists, animators, and illustrators) as well as the team that creates Google’s Doodles in New York City.
This year’s competition did face some criticism after it was discovered Google collected the social security numbers of entrants. Google later stopped asking for this information.
Google also conducted an Ireland Doodle 4 Google competition, with the winner posted on Google Ireland March 8.