19-year-old Lily Hevesh is obsessed with dominos—in particular, seeing the last one fall. “That's the best part,” she says. “That’s what I live for.”
In recent years, Hevesh has become one the most popular figures in the online domino art community (which, yes, is a thing). She’s spent much of her free time over the past decade building increasingly elaborate arrangements of the little tiles, then knocking them down in artistic chain reactions. She also films the entire process, from conception to destruction, and posts edited clips to her YouTube Channel, where she goes by the name Hevesh5. Her video “Insane Domino Tricks,”, a collaboration with another artist, has nearly 118 million views—several million more views than the latest Beyonce and Jay-Z music video.
To start a project, Hevesh first decides which structures or “tricks” to build around. For example, she’ll build a few pyramids or towers, and only then connect them a single line of dominos before knocking it all down. The idea is to create the more complicated structures in a vacuum, so if one of them falls it won’t knock down the entire project. Sure, she’s knocked down a number of her designs by accident, but she says that failure is just a part of the process. The key is to keep building even after losing hours of work, or even days, to a clumsy step.
While her videos make the process look easy, a lot of painstaking work that goes into each ‘setup.’ For her favorite project, “The Amazing Triple Spiral,” Hevesh spent 25 hours setting up 15,000 dominos. She also works with teams to build even more complicated and elaborate projects. She was one of two lead artists on this insane set, which took 19 builders a full week to build.
So what sets her apart? Hevesh says it’s her freeform style. “I like go all over the place with my setups,” she says, so people “can always be surprised by what's going to come next.”
After her first viral video in 2013, Hevesh realized this was much more than just a hobby. Today she’s an artist for hire, building logos out of dominos for companies like Gillette, Toyota, and Honda. While it’s a dream job, she says her ultimate goal isn’t simply financial: She wants to spread her love of domino art to new audiences around the world, and hopes her videos will inspire more kids to get involved in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) related hobbies. But she’s also quick to admit that she simply loves the feeling she gets while watching one of her projects come crashing down.