The Annual 2012

School of Visual Arts

Elf Esteem

Keith Lapinig

Twenty-five-year-old graphic artist and SVA alumnus Keith Lapinig (BFA 2008 Film and Video) edged out a thousand other contestants to win Macy’s Great American Elf Adventure, earning him the honor of having his design—Gazer the Elf—made into a 34-foot-tall balloon for the 2011 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

New York Daily News staff writers Trevor Kapp and Bill Hutchinson reported the story:

A Queens man’s dream soared to reality Tuesday when he was picked to design a balloon for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Keith Lapinig, 25, a Web graphics artist for Sleepy’s mattress company, was chosen out of 1,000 contestants to create his vision for a giant balloon of a Macy’s holiday elf. ‘I’m still shaking,’ Lapinig, of Holliswood, told the Daily News. ‘I’ve never won something of this magnitude before.’

Macy’s officials surprised Lapinig yesterday after coaxing him to their midtown offices on the guise he was among 85 contest finalists. ‘I felt comfortable getting into 85th place, but as far as getting the most votes, I had no idea,’ Lapinig said. The retail giant launched the Macy’s Great American Elf Adventure in August with a scavenger hunt for 10,000 elves hidden in its stores nationwide.

Lapinig said he found one of the colorless gnomes in a Long Island Macy’s and transformed it into a multicolor creation. Photos of his design were posted online with thousands of other entries for Macy’s customers to vote on. ‘This really was America’s choice,’ said Amy Kule, executive producer of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Elf Balloon to Be Designed by 25-Year-Old Contest Winner