Matthew Lei is back.
For the third time, Lei is Oregon’s winner of the annual Doodle for Google contest, where students compete to redesign the Google logo for a day. Lei, who attends Lincoln High School in Portland, has entered the contest every year since he was in third grade at Forest Park Elementary School, when his private art teacher Wanda Ng encouraged the budding doodler to try his hand at chance.
He won the Oregon State competition that year — and again as a sixth-grader at West Sylvan Middle School.
“As a kid, I didn’t really understand how amazing it all was,” Lei laughs. “I was just going with it. »
Now, as a high school student, Lei says, “Growing up, I realized that was actually a really big deal. And a super cool experience.
Lei’s art won out over hundreds of other K-12 submissions from all over Oregon. Since Thursday, her work has been on display alongside the other state and territory winners’ submissions on the Doodle for Google website.
Until July 12, the public can vote for their favorite doodle to help choose the five national finalists. From the finalists, a panel of Google employees will select a winner.
If Lei wins the national contest, his doodle will be featured on the Google search page for a full day. Plus he will win a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology grant to Lincoln High.
And winning the competition wouldn’t hurt his CV either. Lei wants to pursue a career in art: his dream job is to work at Pixar as an animator.
This year, students responded to the prompt “I take care of myself by…with their doodles.
Lei submitted this as his artist statement:
“I take care of myself by seeing the best in myself. In the past, when I reflected on myself, I focused on the negative aspects. Now when I look in the mirror I try to remember the beautiful parts of me. I hope that if I feel better about myself, I can help others feel better about themselves. »
Lei placed her doodle in a bathroom to represent where people start taking care of themselves in the morning. “Plus, personally, the bathroom is where I look in the mirror and reflect on myself,” he says.
He chose the monochrome blue for the background “because it’s a cooler color, so the brightness of the flowery version of the person would be more vibrant.”
As for her choice to adorn the boy in the mirror with multicolored flowers, Lei says, “Flowers are something that symbolizes happiness – something beautiful. »
Lei would be Oregon’s first national Doodle for Google winner. Check out the doodles at doodles.google.com/d4g/vote, for which you can vote Oregon’s own doodler.
—Zella Hanson, [email protected]