200px-Vraagteken.svg.pngHonestly, we are humbled and amazed by all of the artists who submitted their work to us for our Are You a Visionary? art contest in honor of our Artists Month slate of documentaries for April. Never in the history of our user contests have we had a response nearing it. Thank you artists and voters!
Fifteen finalists and 1,274 votes later, the results are in. It was a horse race up to the finish, with the top four vote-getters separated by a single vote each at several points during active voting. First place wavered between five different entries as the week progressed. In the end, our runner up and our winner emerged.

Runner Up: Dream Car, by Vanessa Romero-Harry

Vanessa is the winner of an autographed photograph by Mark Hogancamp, the subject of this week’s documentary Marwencol, which premieres tonight at 10 PM (check local listings).
Drum roll … and the grand prize winner is …

Unrequited, by Sophia Nahli Allison

This is what Sophia said about her entry at the beginning of the competition:
“What inspired me to create this piece was the gap between gays and religion. The rejection gays face from society can cause a fear and anxiety so tormenting that some end their lives or live in denial. In my self-portrait, I wanted to depict their desperation to find faith, a fear of that they’ll never be accepted, and their yearning to find a moment of peace and understanding. Using white face make-up and a self-made crown, I chose to portray Jesus to show the juxtaposition between needing acceptance from God and the solitude and hatred gays face, just as Jesus did at Calvary from man and God. As an artist my desire is to be a voice for the voiceless and tell stories for the multitude of individuals searching for someone who is willing to listen to them.”
— Sophia Nahli Allison, Glenwood, Illinois
Sophia wins an original painting by outsider artist Mikey Welsh, the former bassist of Weezer and the subject of our Artists Month profile. We’ll be interviewing Sophia next week about her work.
Congratulations Vanessa and Sophia, and to all of our competitors for an amazing competition. You are all gifted beyond our wildest imagination!
Check your mail for your prizes; remember that everyone who entered (and included their mailing address) has won an Independent Lens season poster featuring Jean-Michel Basquiat.