EDITOR'S NOTE: When the Mercury debuted our very first Easter Coloring Contest three weeks ago, we had no idea how many artists there were in Portland! As it turned out, hundreds of bohemian artsy types took crayon, acrylics, and watercolors (and even their own blood!) in hand to complete our black-and-white drawing of the Easter Bunny pooping out eggs filled with itty-bitty Jesuses. This made it extremely difficult for Mercury Art Critic CHAS BOWIE (recipient of the College Art Association's Frank Jewett Mather Award for distinguished art criticism) to pick a clear winner—but pick one he did, and the grand prize winner (featured on this week's cover) is VASSAR TRIPLETT! Congratulations, Vassar, enjoy your $200 prize, and the knowledge that YOU are Portland's greatest and most influential ARTEEST. Want to know what celebrated art critic CHAS BOWIE had to say about you and your competition? Then read the following mini-reviews of the top three best and WORST coloring contest entries!! WOW! We don't even know what half these words mean!


While Easter is usually seen in the Christian faith as the celebration of salvation and hope, many artists choose to explore themes of nihilism, decadence, and destruction in their coloring projects. None have succeeded as thoroughly as Vassar, whose nightmarish vision of an overcrowded, corrupt, and polluted dystopian metropolis suggests that, even in the short three-day absence of a Christ presence, the virgin garden of our Creator will unravel into a nightmarish Gomorrah. A compelling argument for the necessity of a guiding spiritual light for the collective consciousness!


Runners-Up: Camille & Greg

While some might dismiss Camille and Greg's dichromatic vision of the resurrection as the result of the single-minded focus on minute details usually afforded by methamphetamines, their myriad undulating felt-tip lines create an optical fibrillation that causes a sense of perpetual flux—a reminder that our senses are transient phenomena, capable of infinite rebirths. An optically stimulating vision of the resurrection!

Runner-Up: Casey Perez

Although the hallucinogenic and proto-psychedelic experiences of early Christian mystics and ascetics have been downplayed by contemporary theologians, many accounts of Christ's miracles have been attributed to the consciousness-shifting results of sleep deprivation and intensive meditation. Here, Perez simulates the frequently disorienting and visually overwhelming mind states of early Christian visionaries, with allusions to an apocalyptic and fatal revival of psychedelic Christian dogmatism in the 1960s.


The Absolute Worst: Dan Leveli-Durlkrtwzm

In the late 1970s and early '80s, artists who wished to challenge previously held concepts of authorship—while identifying a new collective unconsciousness rooted in a culture of image saturation utilized the appropriation of mass-produced imagery extensively. Here, Leveli-Durlktwzm appropriates the iconic symbol of American thuggish brutality, seemingly unaware that the image became a cliché nearly two years ago, and has never, as an appropriated image, conferred anything more significant than the creative laziness of the artist who trots it out. (As an additional insult, Leveli-Durlkrtwzm also lacks the proper penmanship with which to write his own last name in a legible fashion.)

Runner-Up Worst: Janelle Bates

Dear Artists: Perhaps you have noticed that in the past three years, countless thousands of Earth's citizens have lost their lives in a battle over petroleum. Thus, maybe you will reconsider using these precious fuels to transport your juvenile, uninspired experiments in tedium. To improve, I might suggest that you choose, at your project's conception, whether to color within the lines, or to forego this convention entirely. Whichever you choose, stick with it, or risk looking like a sleepy fourth grader. Also, you might consider, in a competition that prizes originality, using a color scheme different than that which my great-aunt might have used, had she not passed 29 years ago. Harrumph!

Runner-Up Worst: Andrea Savranakis

I will allow that on occasion, brilliant art critics such as myself have made "mistakes," for lack of a better word. (See the Salon des Refusés, 1886.) So perhaps one day history will reveal my potential error in not fully recognizing the innate brilliance of Savrankis' drawing, which implores the viewer to remember that, beyond all secularizations and blasphemies, the spirit of Jesus Christ reigns supreme.

HEY! Want to see selected Coloring Contest entries on display? Check them out in all their glory at Tiny's Coffee (1412 SE 12th).