Ireland’s winning Google Doodle graces homepage today

16 Mar 2012

Patrick Horan's Doodle, which has won the top prize in the 2012 Google 4 Doodle competition in Ireland. Horan's Doodle is on Google's Ireland homepage today

If you think creating a Doodle for Google is a doddle, well, think again. The 18-year-old winner of this year’s Doodle 4 Google, Patrick Horan, spent almost two months brainstorming, sketching and tweaking his artistic creation that is splayed across the Google Ireland homepage today.

Speaking yesterday evening, Horan said he got a bit of a shock when his name was called out at Google’s Dublin HQ on Monday as the winner of the 2012 Doodle 4 Google in Ireland.

Well, he had better get used to the attention because his winning Doodle – a stylised Google logo – has been gracing Google Ireland’s homepage since midnight!

Horan was up against 75 other finalists in Google’s fourth Doodle 4 Google competition at the awards ceremony last Monday, but it was his creation that depicts turning back time and wishful thinking which captivated the discerning eyes of the judges in the end.

Hailing from Clonlara in Co Clare, Horan is a sixth-year student at St Munchin’s College in Limerick. It’s the second time a student from St Muchin’s has scooped the Doodle 4 Google accolade. Back in 2009, Evan O’Sullivan Glynn won the very first Doodle 4 Google competition in Ireland.
Patrick Horan's wins the 2012 Doodle 4 Google competition

Patrick Horan’s winning Google Doodle

So what does it feel like to have your artistry blasted across the digital space for all to see?

“I remember walking back to my seat in shock!” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to win the competition, especially as another student from my school had already won the Doodle 4 Google back in 2009.”

Since then, Horan said he has been a bit of a celebrity at his school. He said he was embraced with happy cheers from his pals, classmates and teachers when he turned up at St Muchin’s on Tuesday morning for class.

“The neighbours have also been calling around to the house, so it has been great,” he said.

As a result of his creative endeavours, Horan’s school has been awarded with a €10,000 technology grant from Google, while both he and his art teacher Ms Barry have received a laptop.

Hands of time

So how did Horan come up with the idea for his winning creation?

“I thought about how most people make wishes and I thought about how they usually look to the stars to make them. My wish would be to turn back time, so I created my Doodle from there. I depicted cogs in the inside of a clock and had the hands turning backwards, going down through the centuries,” he said.

Art appears to be Horan’s passion. He said he is finishing up his portfolio and he hopes to get accepted into Limerick School of Art & Design next year. He said he might delve into graphic design or animation in the future.

But just how long did it take to create the winning Doodle? “It took me about a month and a half to design, create and finish my Doodle,” he said. “I put all of my ideas on paper and just brainstormed everything, thinking about wishes. I drew my ideas on a sheet and then I painted my design,” explained Horan.

He said he took inspiration from the Victorian age, looking to mechanics, while he also looked at steampunk art.

“I am also really interested in the work of the Brazilian visual artist Vik Muniz at the moment,” he said.

Sophia Foster-Dimino, an official Google doodler

Google doodler Sophia Foster-Dimino

Google doodler

Sophia Foster-Dimino, an official Google doodler, travelled from Google’s offices in Mountain View, California, to Dublin to present Horan with his award.

Foster-Dimino has worked on some of the most popular Google Doodles. Think of last year’s Halloween Doodle or the interactive Gumby Doodle to celebrate the 90th birthday of Art Clokey, the creator of The Gumby Show.

Horan said Foster-Dimino gave the students who were at Google’s Dublin HQ this week for the awards some interactive workshops on the artistic process involved when creating Doodles for Google.

“She told us where she got her interest from. It really gives you a lot of insight and makes you think that one day you might even work for Google to create Doodles,” he added.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic