Rubik’s Cube Mosaics

Austin Ledesma uses over 1,000 Rubik’s cubes to create a mosaic of Nikola Tesla.

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Kaya Young

Austin Ledesma created his largest ever Rubik’s cube mosaic of famous electrical engineer, Nikola Tesla.

Kaya Young, Staff Writer

Austin Ledesma 20’ creates expansive Rubik’s cube mosaics and displays his works in the library. “A Rubik’s cube mosaic is essentially a big picture made out of smaller images, pictures, or things,” Ledesma said. In every spare moment, Ledesma labors for hours on his mosaic projects. Ever since elementary school, Ledesma has been fascinated with Rubik’s cubes.    

A Rubik’s cube is mini a three by three pixel image and it’s really easy to scale things down to that size. “ My sister originally learned how to solve a Rubik’s cube. My passion was 100 percent of me wanting to be better than her. By the time he learned to solve a Rubik’s cube in middle school, he had amassed a collection of Rubik’s cubes. “I have a thome in a bag thirty Rubik’s cubes, twenty-five of them being different. I have a two by two, three by three, four by four, five by five, then they come in different shapes. There’s a triangle, a twelve sided one, some that are completely flat, some that are completely round,” Ledesma said. His first two projects were Mario and Luigi. “This project only took 500 cubes and was completed in early october. I now use a photo editor and doing the manipulations myself, which creates something more three dimensional, more realistic,” Ledesma said. His next 500 cube project was Martin Luther King Jr.. Ledesma started in late October and finished in November. His work was displayed in the library from November to mid-January. “In total, it was probably about five hours of twisting cubes and putting them in place, and I condensed that down into a one minute time lapse,” Ledesma said.

After Martin Luther King Junior was completed to celebrate Monday, January 20, Ledesma decided to set his sights to something else. “I saw a restaurant where they had Rubik’s cube art up,” Ledesma said. “There was a pac man, video game symbol, and one of a person maybe Marlyn Monroe or something like that. And I just thought that was really cool and I’ve had that in my mind until last year when I found online DHgate, a company that sells bulk products, giving discounts the more you buy.” 

On DHgate, Ledesma found small three centimeter wide Rubik’s cubes that cost 26 cents a piece. “My first order was 200 cubes for about $100. Then, I quickly ordered another 200 to 300 to get up to 512 and that cost another $100,” Ledesma said. 500 cubes was not enough for Ledesma. “It wasn’t until the christmas of 2019 that I decided I really wanted to go all out. I had already made a kirby, and a mario. Those two were with the 500 I had, but I wanted to get bigger, better. So for Christmas I asked my parents ‘Hey I don’t really want a lot for Christmas. The only thing I really want is more cubes, 1,632 to be exact.’ It cost about 300 dollars and came in a box that was four feet wide by three to two feet tall just packed full of Rubik’s cubes. It was probably about a good 30 pounds of Rubik’s cubes just stacked and stacked,” Ledesma said.

To begin each project Ledesma first changes the color scheme. “I merge all the colors until they are down to about ten colors. The darkest colors I change to blue.  I changed them to red, orange, yellow, or blue,” Ledesma said. The subject of his newest project will be Nikola Tesla. The famous electrical inventor and engineer is already beginning to take shape. “936 cubes are currently placed on the board, so that’s more than MLK and MLK ended up taking 12 hours. It’s going to be two and a half times the footage four times the cubes,” Ledesma said.

Creating rubik’s cubes art is not only limited to the experts. “Doing mosaics is not nearly as hard as solving a Rubik’s cube. For mosicas you only have to have one face done, the side that’s facing the person viewing it and this one only takes one and a half terms. If I had to solve every cube the MLK one would have taken me 20 hours,” Ledesma said.

Austin hopes that other students will begin to explore Rubik’s cube art. “It seems like such a hard task, but it really isn’t. Mrs. Thorsen up there and she bought 100 cubes for the purpose of maybe having other people doing a mosaic,” Ledesma said.

As Nikola Tesla slowly comes together pixel by pixel the chunks of primary color become a work of art, Austin Ledesma’s largest Rubik’s Cube Mosaic.