Title of Work
Date of Work
900 Rubik's Cubes, Bestsiteever Mosaic App
Art & Design Study Collection
This artwork was created in the Introduction to Fine Arts Honors course taught by Sarah Heitkamp in Fall of 2022 and featured in UND Pops! A Pop Art Tribute to UND.
History of Pop art and Found Object Art
Our art piece is not only pop art, but also found object art. Pop art which dates back to the 1950s is artwork that incorporates popular culture and was created to challenge what was considered traditional art. Found object art is taking objects that wouldn’t normally be used as art materials. Pablo Picasso was the first person to create a piece that was considered found object art in 1912, titles Still Life with Chair Caning. Picasso used an actual chair to create the art piece. Rubiks cubes are our found object with its ties to pop culture and also numerous possible combinations. The first person to create a portrait out of Rubik’s cubes is unknown but their value as an art piece has shown. Our portrait of President Armacost on the other hand is priceless.
Why we chose Rubik’s Cube and President Armacost:
The most important thing to decide when making a piece of art is the subject of your artwork. We chose to make a portrait of President Andy Armacost as a show of respect and admiration. President Armacost represents the University’s values of inclusivity and building a strong, united community by being a strong leader for our university, but also being an approachable person that you can hold a conversation with. President Armacost has been a well-loved and well-respected president of our university for the last two years, and every student I have ever spoken to has always had such a positive view about President Armacost because of how genuine he is with each and every student, his ability to treat each person with kindness and acceptance, and the welcoming atmosphere that he brings into each room he walks into.
The other important thing to consider is the medium in which artwork is made, and we chose to make our artwork out of Rubik’s cubes since they are a piece of our childhood, our parents’ childhood, and even some of our grandparents’ childhoods. Rubik’s cubes provide a sense of familiarity to most people. President Armacost also provides a familiarity by being able to have a conversation with him, and then if they pass him later on in the schoolyear that he will actually remember your name and previous conversations you have had with each other, and that is not something most other students at 10,000+ people universities can say. Additionally, the diverse colors of the Rubik’s cubes used to create the portrait serve as a way to depict the diversity of thought and students that get to call the University of North Dakota home.
Process of making the art (methods)
Once we knew we wanted to use Rubik’s cubes to create an image of our beloved president, the first thing we had to figure out was just how many cubes we wanted to use. We had to find the perfect balance between clarity of the image and time available to solve all these cubes because, while it would be cool to use 10,000 Rubik’s cubes to create the most accurate image, we only had so much time and funding to use, not to mention only two out of the four of us actually knew how to solve a Rubik’s cube. The magic number was 900 cubes, averaging 43 cubes a day between the three of us in the mere 3 weeks we had to finish the project. Now, what I thought would be the most challenging part, was finding a way to configure 900 Rubik’s cubes so that all 8,100 individual squares created the final image we had conceptualized. However, it turns out, there was an easily accessible program online to print the artwork into 81 pages of much more approachable 12-cube sections. This way, we could each solve one 12-cube section, mark it, store it, and continue solving. The only thing left was to get to work!
What we learned
While working on this project, our group learned a lot of new things about putting an art piece together. We learned how to work in a group to make great art, and what goes into putting an art piece together with multiple people working on the project at the same time. Another thing that some of us learned was how to solve at least one side of a Rubik's cube because we hadn't solved one before this. We also learned how fun it could be to solve a Rubik's cube, so the project went faster than any of us had thought.
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