September 27, 2023


Arts Eternal

‘Domino Masters’ on Fox: Contestants tell us how it’s done

DeMond Nason found out domino artwork soon after obtaining his heart broken.

“I was heading through YouTube clips striving to locate anything to comfort and ease a damaged soul,” recalled Nason, a San Diego native now dependent in Brooklyn, N.Y. “I arrived across these domino drops and there was anything just so tranquil about them.”

Following expressing his fascination in making an attempt dominoes himself on social media, a friend and veteran domino artist reached out to invite Nason to sign up for him.

“There’s a attractive launch to the art sort that’s a big pull for me,” claimed Nason, who has expertise undertaking in Broadway nationwide tours and off-Broadway reveals. “Part of [domino] artwork is the drop, that is what I adore about it. You’re developing anything, and then you [topple] it more than and you go to your subsequent canvas. … I genuinely use the artwork as a variety of mental health, as a variety of meditating and releasing the tension.”

Now, nevertheless, Nason is incorporating the anxiety of competition to his dominoes — he’s amid the domino artists vying for the top rated prize in Fox’s “Domino Masters,” a reality opposition series premiering Wednesday. Hosted by “Modern Family” alum Eric Stonestreet, the present will see 16 groups of 3 compete in a match for an $100,000 cash prize as very well as the title of Domino Masters.

Equivalent to other artistic competitions, each individual week four groups will be introduced with a topic and offered a set time to finish their domino builds. Their purpose is to use the 16 hours to assemble a massive piece to impress the panel of judges, comprised of actor and mathematician Danica McKellar, previous NFL player and artwork enthusiast Vernon Davis and specialist domino and chain reaction artist Steve Selling price.

But contrary to most other art types that are shown in level of competition reveals, dominoes are kinetic. The art is not just in the completed constructions that are crafted, but also in the way they topple, or the sequence as the bricks tumble down.

“The change involving dominoes from any other developing hobby is that in the conclusion, it moves,” reported Michael Fantauzzo, who is competing on the demonstrate with his cousin Matt VanVleck and mate Doug Pieschel as crew Back again Breakers. “It does some thing totally on its possess, relying the two on physics and artistry, to make one thing that is definitely distinctive. There’s just nothing at all that is pretty like it.”

Both of those the creative opportunities and the thrill of a profitable topple are amongst the signature components of the medium that appeals to these domino artists.

“I really like the strategy that this artwork is not a nevertheless body,” stated Emma Renner, a programs engineer who is part of workforce Brains and Brawn. “The art is in the comprehensive journey and system of it. The artwork begins when you put that very first domino down, and then each domino — often it is 50, occasionally it’s hundreds, from time to time it is tens of countless numbers of dominoes you are placing down for one job — every domino is purposeful.”

These larger domino projects are far more than just a extended line of one-row bricks tumbling in excess of. Advanced domino tasks, like individuals showcased in the competition, incorporate approaches like domino fields and partitions — which are two-dimensional domino planes made by aligning bricks horizontally on the ground or stacking them vertically, respectively — as well as 3-D structures built from dominoes and other creative chain reaction tips.

A sports-themed domino piece in “Domino Masters.”

(Ray Mickshaw / FOX)

“Every domino artist has a unique fashion,” reported Scott Suko, a veteran domino artist competing with a workforce named the OG Topplers. “Some persons like to do lovely painting-like styles on the ground. Other individuals like to do much more Rube Goldberg factors.”

Suko, who initially grew to become interested in domino artwork right after observing a entire world record-breaking domino topple in 1979, considers himself “an previous-university domino toppler” who generally works by using mainly picket dominoes in his projects. (Dominoes created from other components like plastic are extra usually favored by newer domino artists.)

“I like to hook up them to typical wood toys,” said Suko, whose good friend and teammate, Paul Nelson, is the domino artist that invited Nason to his initial topple. “I do the job all kinds of toys and video games into [pieces] and make them transfer underneath the manage of the dominoes. … I really like the back and forth among dominoes falling, outdated traditional picket toy relocating, dominoes likely up staircases, a thing sliding down a zipline, dominoes launching balloons. It is just one particular issue following a different. It will make it sort of goofy and enjoyment doing work individuals varieties of issues into it.”

In addition to diverse methods and approaches, however, the judges on the display are hunting for stories advised as a result of every team’s topples.

“Storytelling was a matter really pushed by the judges,” claimed Renner. “Not only when it is just standing, when your creation is accomplished before you have toppled it, does it will need to be a story, but as it is falling, the topple of it should add a lot more factors to the tale. The sequence really should be a story.”

“What’s so good about dominos is you practically have a by means of line,” said Nason. “There’s often a starting, a middle and end. … The dominoes really don’t just drop in just one large slide. It is on a path. You are equipped to build these superb stories by the lines of the dominoes.”

On leading of the storytelling factors, resident domino and chain reaction expert Value mentioned as a judge he “was there to make positive that [the teams] challenged themselves” by employing extra tough strategies.

“I was wanting for the variety of diverse kinds of domino and chain reaction tactics applied, the assortment of distinct dimensions,” said Price tag. He also was on the lookout “for seriously good combos of chain reaction tricks that were straight integrated into the domino strategies [and] how nicely [the teams] can mash the two worlds jointly.”

A domino beginner, for example, could be similarly impressed by the pixel artwork of a substantial domino area as by a composition developed vertically. But as Price tag defined, “Even while it may have less dominoes full, it’s way additional complicated to establish mainly because with 3-D buildings, if you make one wrong go, the total thing will drop.”

Price tag was also searching for approaches that teams may possibly have gotten different objects to behave in surprising approaches.

a scoreboard surrounded by dominoes

A sports activities-themed domino establish from an episode of “Domino Masters.”

(Ray Mickshaw / Fox)

Fantauzzo, who 1st grew to become intrigued in dominoes when he was 12, is also drawn to the distinct movements that can be produced in the topples.

“Even if you make tons of distinct pictures, tons of different-hunting structures, they’re ordinarily likely to drop down the identical way,” reported Fantauzzo. “But if you are clever more than enough with your dominoes, you can make them fall in insane patterns. You [can] have a circle of buildings, and then they all fall inward at the exact similar time. That results in a very fulfilling movement for me.”

Fantauzzo also enjoys crossover fields, in which the artwork is unveiled when the piece’s rows fall in alternating instructions.

Dominoes are a fragile medium, and despite the fact that skilled domino artists have examined many reactions and are familiar with distinct structure ideas and ideal methods, a totally successful topple is not confirmed.

Because the groups are setting up in close quarters, “when someone’s [project] accidentally topples, it impacts anyone in the space,” said Renner. “It’s terrible. If you are testing some thing and it’s going to sound like a bunch of dominoes slipping, you have to yell ‘test’ to anyone so if they listen to that noise they really do not quickly freak out and mess up what they’re carrying out.”

Failures and accidents are portion of the discovering process for artists like Fantauzzo.

“I film every thing,” said Fantauzzo. “I can glance again at the circumstance and see ‘OK, why didn’t this function?’ … Spending awareness to people fails has built me a better domino artist.”

Even when factors don’t go as planned, “It’s just dominoes,” stressed Nason. “The great detail is that we have more dominoes. We can rebuild it.”

‘Domino Masters’

Exactly where: Fox
When: 9 p.m. Wednesday
Score: Television set-PG-L (might be unsuitable for younger little ones with an advisory for coarse language)