Sep. 23—SANDOWN — There's no wrong way to topple a domino. Just ask Lily Hevesh, a 23-year old, world-renowned domino artist who grew up in Sandown.
She should know — she's created elaborate domino designs involving tens of thousands of pieces at a time. Nearly four million people subscribe to her YouTube page, garnering over a billion hits.
"After a certain amount of dominoes, the speed will reach a specific point and it will stay there," Hevesh said. "Even if you tap it lightly in the beginning or hard, it will even out."
Her art has taken her all over the world for projects including movie and commercial work, her own branded "Hevesh5" domino toy set and a documentary, "Lily Topples The World."
Hevesh has accomplished more than most her age, and now she has joined the likes of Elvis Presley, President Joe Biden and NFL star Drew Brees for another feat. She was named as a 2022 honoree on Junior Chamber International USA's Ten Outstanding Young Americans list.
"It's hard to wrap my brain around," Hevesh said. "It's such an honor to know and to have the validation that what I'm doing is good and impacting the world in positive ways."
Every year the organization honors young achievers who are making a positive impact on the world and empowering other young people. Heather Danley, the immediate past president of JCI USA and selection committee member, said Hevesh exemplified their values.
"She teaches young people the art of dominos and how it's more than just an art," Danley said. "It teaches many life skills from patience to problem solving. Lily is passionate about getting kids engaged in STEAM."
"It's very clear her domino art started out as a hobby, but now she uses it to empower kids to think outside of the box and use dominos as a way to grow," Danley added.
Hevesh has become a role model empowering kids to become involved in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics education.
She explains how physics, geometry, math and art are all used in the execution of her domino designs.
The Timberlane Regional High School graduate first started creating domino designs when she was nine years old.
She realized her love of dominoes could be life-changing after working on Will Smith's 2016 film "Collateral Beauty." Hevesh took two weeks off during her senior year for the project to build dominoes on set. She took a gap year before college and got a studio to make domino videos.
"I felt like there was more to this and could take it even further," Hevesh said.
Since then, domino artistry has become her career.
Parents reach out to say she has influenced their child's enthusiasm for learning through her passion to promote art and inclusion.
She's also led the way on all things dominoes, being considered the best in the male-dominated field.
"Now I see really young girls setting up dominoes and it makes me so happy to see the diversity is expanding now," Hevesh said. "People can look up to me as a girl who is also building dominoes and feel less alone."
Her creations are complex and elaborate. Projects take weeks, sometimes months to set up. Her most intricate design took 82 days to set up and plan out. That 32,000 domino creation was laid out on her studio's floor, hallway and kitchen space.
After three months of preparation, it came crashing down in mere minutes.
Hevesh sketches out designs in a notepad, and works out new color schemes, complex spiral patterns and tricks. She's constantly thinking of ways to amplify her designs.
She finds inspiration in every day motions and movement unique to dominoes.
"You can have multiple lines going at once in a certain direction," Hevesh said. "Maybe they go inside, or turn back around, it's a symmetrical sort of pattern."
The possibilities are endless, she says.
Hevesh's documentary chronicling her domino art over a three-year span is currently streaming on Discovery Plus.
It won "Best Documentary" at South By South West in 2021 and has made the rounds at different film festivals and museums. Next month, it will be screened at the New Hampshire Film Festival in Portsmouth.
"Now to do it in my home state where I grew up is a really special thing," Hevesh said.
She hopes young people find motivation in her story to go after their passions.
"I try as much as I can to promote the idea that anyone can do anything," Hevesh said. "It doesn't matter who you are. Society might be built in a way that is for other types of people, but it's a matter of focusing in on what your passion is, what you love and blocking out everything else."