Domino Artist Lily Hevesh Explains How She Turns Dominoes Into Art


A domino is a flat, thumbsized rectangular block, either blank or bearing from one to six dots or pips (the number of which determines the value of the piece) on each of its two opposite sides. A domino set typically contains 28 pieces, but larger sets can be made by introducing “extended” ends with more pips; such a change increases the number of possible combinations of ends and therefore of tiles, from 28 to about 200. Dominoes are also known as bones, cards, men, or pieces. They are used for various games played by arranging them in lines and angular patterns and then, usually by matching the ends of one to another, forcing them to fall.

Lily Hevesh started collecting dominoes when she was 9 years old, and loved setting them up in straight or curved lines, then flicking the first one and watching them all fall at once. Now she’s a professional domino artist, with more than 2 million YouTube subscribers who watch her create stunning domino art in a variety of shapes and themes.

When she starts a new project, Hevesh draws out her plans on a sheet of paper before beginning. She explains that her creations can be as simple or as complex as she wants, from straight lines to a grid that forms pictures when it falls, or even 3-D structures like towers and pyramids. Her designs are often inspired by nature or popular culture, and she says that her favorite ones feature dinosaurs, space, and fantasy worlds.

She cites the example of the Domino’s chain, which underwent a transformation when it became CEO David Brandon’s mission to listen to employees and address the company’s top complaints, such as low pay and an inefficient delivery system. After implementing a relaxed dress code and leadership training programs, the company saw a drastic improvement in its customer satisfaction ratings.

Domino’s also began experimenting with pizza-delivery vehicles that would cut costs and increase efficiency. It has since launched several models, including a purpose-built vehicle that uses electric motors to drive the car, and plans for drones that could deliver pizzas in the future. While there is substance to these initiatives, it’s pretty clear that they’re also part of a marketing effort designed to modernize the Domino’s brand image.

In multi-round games, a player scores points by placing dominoes end to end in a line, so that the exposed ends of each tile match (one’s touch one’s, or two’s touch two’s), and that all doubles are placed in an even pattern on the left and right sides of the line. The player who earns the most points in a certain number of rounds wins the game.

Dominoes are also used for positional games, in which each player takes turns putting dominoes on the table edge to edge against other dominoes. The resulting chains, called dominoes, may be a single row or more complicated patterns. The number of points won depends on the arrangement and placement of the dominoes in the chain, as well as the rules of play.