By Karen Hutchinson-Talaski
HERMISTON For fourth-generation Hermiston resident Jerred Gomez, designing the logo for Hermiston's 100th anniversary was a no-brainer. He just tapped into what Hermiston is famous for watermelons, sunsets and fields of gold.
Gomez, a budding musician who goes by his stage name JaeMez, would not have entered the contest except for his grandmother, Betty Gammell.
"I did it for her," Gomez said. "She told me about it and wanted me to enter."
Doing the artwork on his computer, Gomez put all his graphic art skills to the test when he designed the winning logo. He says he spent a lot of time with the color of the sunset over the fields. He feels the sunset is the foundation of Hermiston.
"I spent about six or seven hours on it," Gomez said. "Growing up in Hermiston, I have a good idea of what Hermiston is."
This isn't the first time Gomez has won an award or acclaim for his art work.
Drawing ever since he can remember, he started selling his work in first grade to fellow students. Mom Cindy Thompson says the teacher stopped him from selling his art because he was taking kids' milk money. That didn't stop him from continuing to hone his craft.
He has won two national awards for his graphic designs and draws for the record label he has signed with. Gomez's art has helped him supplement his income until his record career could take off. He has an album coming out in August. He writes and performs his own music a mixture of R & B, Hip Hop and mainstream pop music. Last year, he released his first album, "Related Rhymes."
Gomez earned $100 for his logo for the Centennial. Banner Bank donated the money for the contest.
Centennial Committee member Debbie Pedro says Gomez's artwork just "popped off the page" when committee members judged the seven or eight entries in December.
"It was so good," Pedro said, "the verdict was unanimous. Jerred's logo was the one."
A new banner along Highway 395 sports the new logo along and invites people to attend the Centennial Celebration July 7-10. The logo will also be featured on the cake being made for the July 10 dedication ceremony for the bell tower and plaza, as well as any T-shirts or publicity for the event.
Karen Hutchinson-Talaski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.