Craft & Design Fun & Games
I Have a (Puzzling) Dream

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Make: Sales Manager Brigitte Kunde shared this amazing build with us, spotted online by a friend of hers. Pete Fecteau used over 4,000 Rubik’s Cubes to create this 18′ 6″ x 9′ 8″ mosaic of Dr. Martin Luther King. Apparently Rubik Cube artwork is a “thing.” There’s Rubik’s Einstein, Lincoln, Sitting Bull, Kathy Lee and Hoda(?). There’s even a name for the genre: Rubikcubism.

Here are the technical details of the build from Pete:

The mosaic is made of 4,242 officially licensed Rubik’s Cubes. It measures 19′ x 8’6″ x 2.25″ (5.8m x 2.6m x 5.7cm ). It weighs roughly 1000 pounds (454kg). Each cube has been “reversed solved” or twisted so that one of the faces maps it’s nine stickers into the total image, 38,178 stickers total. The construction process took a little over 40 hours and the final installation to about five and a half hours with 6 volunteers helping. The cubes were rented through the You Can Do The Cube organization. The mosaic was on display during the 2010 ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan USA from September 22nd to October 10th. There were roughly 30,000 people who came to view the mosaic during that time. “Dream Big” placed in the top 50 out of 1,700+ entries. The mosaic was left intact for a month after the competition in an attempt to sell it. The pending sale did not materialize and the mosaic was disassembled in late November and the cubes were shipped back to their originating points.

See and read more on Pete Fecteau’s Website

254 thoughts on “I Have a (Puzzling) Dream

  1. What a spectacular accomplishment! Did the artist use a computer program to configure the images/cubes?

    1. Good question, i would like to know as well. What i would do is open up Photoshop, and set a palette of colors that match the Rubik’s cube. Then import a photo such that you want and determine how wide and tall you can shrink it down without losing too much quality. You make sure the pixels in the image are converted to your color palette and now each pixel represents a square on the cube. Make sure the math works and then have fun trying to make all the parts with 4000 or so cubes… I would say its less art and more technical work, which is the only thing i could ever do so i still think its awesome.

        1. No Jason……his work is as u see it…..real art….i know a few people who can solve em cube puzzles in less than a minute

          good job bro.

    1. I don’t think he would get paid. I mean, it was his art work and I guess he wanted to put it in the art museum. Or he got asked to put it in there. but He wouldn’t get paid anything for that.

      1. …then the night attendant gets bored, solves all the cubes and puts them back.

        1. lol – You clever fecker.

          I thought the back looked like a psychedelic negative?


    1. It would be very awesome but VERY VERY hard to do that. Hahaha! Yea. I would be super impressed too! :)

  2. There should be an image on the back side and it should be the negative of the front i would imagine. think about it, if the artist used standard cubes with each color having a direct polar opposite then the back image should be the “negative” of the front.

    1. That’s not how a Rubik’s cube works. The centers of each face are immovable, but otherwise you can change which squares are opposite of each other

    1. An unsuccessful art work. ‘Martin Luther King’ and ‘Rubik cubes’, how do these go on to become something new, i.e. an artwork. I like it but, I’m feeling, hidden shallows

  3. man this is something that deserves much more publicity.. what motivated you to create something like this? its funny i just gave my first HONEST effort to do one of these damn things lol.. hit me back man..

  4. what led the artist to this idea? how did he come up with the concept, and how long did it take for him to not only design the specs, but actually work the cubes to get the colors in the precise spaces? I am amazed. Excellent work!

  5. Wonderful artwork! I am utterly amazed at this man’s talent. But 4000 Rubik’s Cubes would cost so much money! I hope he bought them in bulk! (Even more, I hope someone bought his artwork for more than he paid for all of those cubes!)

  6. ive been wanting to do this but ran into issues with acquiring such a large amount of cubes. any tips? how did you do it?

  7. Just wondering how much 4,000 rubik’s cubes might cost and where did you buy them/ direct from factory? Wholesale?
    Fascinating Work!

    1. That’s awful! Why would you say something like that?!?!? My brother is autistic and I don’t apreciate you saying stuff like that! That is rude and uncalled for! Wow! I can’t believe you said that!

      1. You are mad because your brother can’t count cards like Ray Babbit :-)
        I feel you, autism is portraied like this amazing skill that can produce spectacular result, not like the disease it really is.

  8. man.. this is too cool. not only did you have to map out the colors for the picture as a whole, but you had to then configure all the rubix cubes to those colors! how time consuming… props on your patience.

  9. Is this really, really, for real? WOW talk about creativity and persistence. Great artwork!

  10. Fantastic, the clarity achieved in all three facial variations is superb.

  11. This is amazing! I can’t believe that you did this! It’s so cool! I have a friend who can complete a cube in under a minute! Its amazing to watch how his hands move. Can you do that? I’m sure that you spend a TON of money. I hope for your sake that you got it all back plus some. Cause you deserve it. Wonderful work. But Why Martin Luther King? Why not a picture of your slef or of a tree or something?

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  14. I think this was an amazing piece. It’s hard enough trying to get the same color on the same side much less putting it together to create an unforgettable piece of art. AWESOME!!!

  15. It is cool and very prototype , it reminds me some how the Byzantine mosaic of the Greek orthodox Churches . It is the same logic with the main difference that in a mosaic every piece it is added color by color but in this occasion the artist adds 6 colors every time in the whole picture which is actually very difficult technique.

    Without a Pc i don’t think he could manage to make it !

  16. WOW. The patience and the precision. Must cost a fortune to get one. But much respect to the time and effort spent on making this. AWESOME work

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn