Rob Surette, North Andover resident and creator of Amazing Hero Art, completed the world’s largest Lite-Brite display on July 4.
Surette inserted the last of 504,000 pegs into his creation exactly 365 days after he first began his project.
It was a labor of love. Communicating a message of world peace is something that is not only important to Surette, but something he feels is a calling. His goal was not necessarily to beat the world record, rather to share a modern, iconic image that could make an impact on the world.
“I felt that with my inspiration, to have it be a world record will help catch more people’s attention and help it travel and be seen around the world,” Surette said. “I felt called to do this and felt it in my whole being.”
As a child, Surette, like most kids in the 1970s, found Lite-Brite to be cool, if not mesmerizing. He himself did not have the toy, but his cousin did. Together, they would set out to create images using as many of the available pegs as possible. Much to their disappointment, they did not have enough pegs to entirely fill the screen.
Later in life, Surette would revisit this childhood pastime when learning about the Guinness World Record holder for Lite-Brite via an art blog. Surette had long been fascinated with the Pointillism movement of art, which is the usage of dots to form an image. Together, these factors inspired Surette to create something powerful with the very toy that entertained him as a child.
“Ever since September 11,” Surette said, “I couldn’t help, as an artist, to feel that I would love to create something in response to September 11 –artistically – more like a picture is worth a thousand words.”
Now, as if to live out a childhood dream, Surette has filled an oversized, hand-crafted screen, constructed by Surette himself, with 1,750 pounds of colorful Lite-Brite pegs. All of which were donated by Hasbro when they learned of Surette’s honorable mission and artistic background.
Surette has been an artist all of his life and has come to be known for his large scale portrait work where he paints portraits on huge, six foot tall canvases all in a matter of minutes.
He has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, Good Morning America and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno consistently sharing a message of positivity and empowerment. He hopes to take his talent and message to the next level with his latest accomplishment and share it around the world.
The Lite-Brite image that Surette assembled shows faces from the eastern and western parts of the world reaching out to one another in a gesture of peace and love as he believes our world is meant to be.
“It is a powerful image,” Surette said. “And my artwork serves as a little bit of a healing mechanism.”
The Lite-Brite structure reveals a black divide, which Surette explains represents the space or void between America and the rest of the world. Resting in the middle of this darkness is a heart meant to represent whatever goodness (peace, love, happiness) the observer deems most significant to them.
Surette’s ability to create this massive Lite-Brite came with great forethought, planning and the much appreciated help of the former world record holder by the name of Lori Kanary of Denver, Colo. With Kanary’s tips, a computer generated schematic and thousands of hours of dedicated labor, Surette is thrilled to share his masterpiece with the world.
Putting all the pieces together, both literally and figuratively, seemed like destiny for Surette as the process moved steadily forward in a most positive and productive manner. As all of his process pieces fell into place to start the project, the physical pieces did the same as Surette worked on it throughout the year.
Surette is in the process of scheduling dates for his World Peace Lite-Brite to be on display both locally and around the world. The piece is currently under consideration with Guinness World Records and qualifications will be determined in approximately six to eight weeks.
“There is so much to look at and I want people to have some sort of experience in the artwork,” Surette said. “I’ve seen people’s reaction to want to feel it and touch it. They feel like a kid again with a look of wonder.”
To learn more about Surette, Amazing Hero Art and Surette’s largest Lite-Brite display visit www.amazingheroart.com.