The 21-year-old College Cuber makes $8,000 mosaics of sports stars using cubes

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

Dylan Sadiq, known as “The College Cuber” charges $8,000 for his mosaics made of cubes. Pro teams including the NBA's Detroit Pistons have purchased the artwork.Courtesy: Dylan Sadiq | The College Cuber

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

It started with a portrait of his favorite basketball player, Luka Doncic. Then came fellow NBA star Damian Lillard. International soccer clubs like Manchester United and FC Barcelona took notice. A Major League Baseball team reached out, as did the National Football League.

Before he knew it, Dylan Sadiq was inundated with requests for his mosaics consisting of cubes (as in Rubik's Cubes, but copycats). Sadiq, 21, is a student at Rutgers University, where he's now known as the College Cuber.

Global Tech News Daily

Sadiq charges $8,000, and can make a cube portrait in under four hours. After getting traction on social media platforms and retweets on Twitter, teams including the NFL's Tennessee Titans, National Hockey League's New Jersey Devils and Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union and New York Red Bulls sought Sadiq's work.

“This is not what I expected,” Sadiq told CNBC this week. While he was speaking, a new mosaic he created of Patrick Mahomes, the star quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs, was going viral.

Covid ruined everything

Global Tech News Daily

Sadiq is currently in his final semester at Rutgers and plans to graduate with a degree in biomedical engineering. But he doesn't envision pursuing a career in the field.

His interests changed during the pandemic, as virtual schooling failed to keep him engaged.

“When I was in person, I was grinding and studying,” he said. “I was getting immersed in my education. But since we've been online, it's nowhere near the same, and it's sad. I feel like I didn't learn much. If you put me in a situation to make an impact, I don't even know how I can help.”

With no opportunities for in-person internships or hands-on experience in school, Sadiq took a detour. He combined his social media accounts and his interest in engineering to master the Rubik's Cube.

Dylan Sadiq, known as “The College Cuber” charges $8,000 for his mosaics made of cubes.Courtesy: Dylan Sadiq | The College Cuber

Sadiq likes to tell the story of how his brother, Brandon, challenged him at age 10 to solve the cube. His reward was Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty video game. Sadiq said it took him a week to complete the task.

In February 2021, Sadiq practiced solving cubes so he could get faster. Then he turned his newfound skill into an avenue for art creation.

Sadiq purchased $1,000 worth of cubes and figured out how to assemble 560 pieces to create a mosaic of Doncic, the Dallas Mavericks' all-NBA guard. He posted it on Instagram in April, and the Mavericks noticed, sharing it with team's followers. That sparked another mosaic of Lillard with similar results from the Portland Trail Blazers.

“I'm not sure Luka Doncic ever saw the mosaic,” Sadiq said. “And Mark Cuban, I'm not sure he saw it either,” he added.

Cuban, the owner of the Mavericks, told CNBC that he didn't see it.

While Sadiq said he's almost certain to forego potential jobs in engineering, he doesn't consider his time at Rutgers, which can cost over $40,000 a year, as a waste. He said the university hires him for live events, including the football game against Ohio State in October and the inauguration of the new school president.

“That's a huge part of the reason I'm the College Cuber,” said Sadiq. “Everything was ruined because of Covid. But where I feel valuable is through my artwork.”

Sadiq attended the Lions' Ford Field last July to create a mosaic for the NFL club.Courtesy: Dylan Sadiq | The College Cuber

Finding motivation in Detroit

In July, the Detroit Pistons became the first pro sports team to pay for a mosaic. Sadiq took a trip to the Motor City and created a portrait of Ben Wallace, the Pistons' Hall of Fame center. While in town, he made the Red Wings a mosaic for their NHL draft party.

He also made sales to the NFL's Lions and, for the MLB's Tigers, he created a mosaic of slugger Miguel Cabrera. The team presented it to him to celebrate his 500th home run.

“I didn't understand what I was doing,” Sadiq said of his experience in Detroit. “I was just trying to make an experience out of it.”

Wandering around Detroit, Sadiq said he became interested in the artwork that promoted Black pride in the city. That sparked an idea to expand the College Cuber.

“The artwork was amazing,” Sadiq said. “One of the things I imagined – I wish I could see the creation live. I felt like it deserved a crowd because artwork like that had a powerful message and looks beautiful. It's colorful, vibrant – I wish I could see it being made in front of my eyes.”

Dylan Sadiq said Black artwork in Detroit motivated him to create live performances of the mosaics. He uses over 500 cubes to assemble the artwork in three hours.Courtesy: Dylan Sadiq | The College Cuber

So Sadiq made it happen. He started charging up to $3,000 for a live performance and can create a piece of art in about three hours. For a flat fee of $8,000, clients can see the live event and keep the artwork.

Last September, Sadiq turned the College Cuber into a limited liability company. He said that of the $38,000 he's generated in revenue since the Pistons became his first paying client in July, about $27,000 landed as profit. He keeps costs down through a deal with a toy wholesaler and pays no rent on the studio in his mom's basement, where he makes his mosaics. 

“She'll probably start charging me (rent) now,” he joked.

Sadiq projects he can exceed $100,000 in sales this year. So far, the Chiefs purchased the mosaic of Mahomes, and Titans running back back Derrick Henry is seeking a piece.

The NFL paid $8,000 for a mosaic of league commissioner Roger Goodell, after Joe Favorito, a well-knowns sports public relations guru and a sports business professor at Columbia University, saw a video of one of Sadiq's mosaics. Favorito said he “was immediately blown away,” and coordinated an introduction.

“Creative talent, sometimes we take for granted,” said Favorito. “I think it's our job to help amplify these young content creators who do something truly unique. His engineering and science background wire him in a particular way, and that's how he's able to do it. The fact he can almost do it in his head, and then know which pieces to set up and create something remarkable and unique in a few hours is a gift.”

It all started on the trip to Detroit.

“I learned so much from that experience,” said Sadiq. “I went from a kid making videos online to taking action. I would say that weekend in Detroit changed my entire life.”

Sadiq is shown creating a mosaic of NBA star Kevin Durant for soccer team Philadelphia Union. Durant co-owns the MLS franchise.Courtesy: Dylan Sadiq | The College Cuber

Making money on social media

Sadiq isn't the first person to monetize cubed mosaics. In 2019, CNBC profiled Italian artist Giovanni Contardi, who uses Rubik's products to create art. Contardi sold a mosaic of the late Amy Winehouse for roughly $5,000 and gained social media attention for a piece on NBA star LeBron James. 

Sadiq has been in contact with Rubik's for a brand deal. The company is owned by Canadian toymaker Spin Master, which trades on the over-the-counter marketplace.

“The pandemic was a problem for him, but it's also created digital opportunities that he can take advantage of,” said Favorito.

Social media is central to the College Cuber's business. His Instagram account became eligible for Facebook's bonuses program, which pays creators to post reels. Sadiq said he's made about $550 so far from Instagram. He also joined TikTok's creator fund after his mosaic of Mahomes gained over 100,000 views.

For additional revenue, he'll make mosaics and charge clients $750 for the video that companies can post in their advertisements.

But Sadiq doesn't charge pro sports teams for the video post. Instead, he seeks retweets or reposts to build exposure. Manchester United and Barcelona have helped with soccer fans, and the NBA's Orlando Magic also promoted the work on Twitter.

Sadiq said he plans to use the extra attention as a force for good.

Last year, he attended his first NBA game courtesy of the New York Knicks after creating a mosaic of all-star Julius Randle. Sadiq, a New Jersey native, said visiting Madison Square Garden was “life-changing” as he was able to understand further “the culture and the unity of [sports] fans.”

Sadiq now requests that teams that become clients provide free tickets to fans who have never attended a sporting event.

“That's what I want to experience with my artwork – to bring the fans together,” he said.

Of building the College Cuber, Sadiq said, “It was just something that came to be, and I realize the value I bring to people.”

WATCH: This 24-year old makes portraits out of hundreds of Rubik's Cubes

News Related

OTHER NEWS

Philippe Coutinho's agent has already revealed his thoughts on Liverpool transfer return

jQuery(function(){ if (typeof jwplayer_load == typeof indefined) { var jwplayer_load = 1; jQuery(window).load(function(){ jQuery(".sc_video_shortcode_jwplayer").each(function(){ var _this = $(this); jQuery.get(jQuery(this).attr("url"), function(data, status){ if (typeof data.split("\n") !== typeof undefined) { var src ... Read more »

Araujo taken in ambulance after sickening clash of heads with Barcelona teammate Gavi

Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo was taken off the pitch in an ambulance during their match against Celta Vigo and rushed to hospital. The Uruguayan was involved in a sickening clash ... Read more »

Aston Villa vs Liverpool: Report and player ratings Sadio Mane gives Reds a Premier League title boost

A much-changed Liverpool side came from behind to win at Villa Park to keep the pressure on league leaders Manchester City Read more »

Liverpool vindicated Jurgen Klopp’s risky rotation policy by doing just enough to beat wasteful Aston Villa

Klopp demoted Mo Salah to the bench and Andy Robertson from the squad but Liverpool had enough to reserve to bounce back from Saturday’s disappointment Read more »

Gary Lineker offers solution to Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy 'Wagatha Christie' case

Gary Lineker has offered a funny solution to the “Wagatha Christie” court case between Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy. Coleen is being sued by Rebekah for libel at the High ... Read more »

FIFA chief Gianni Infantino announces plans to create football game to rival EA Sports

FIFA are planning to create their own football video game after it was announced their three-decade partnership with EA Sports is coming to an end. EA Sports have confirmed FIFA ... Read more »

Fabinho injury: Liverpool midfielder suffers suspected hamstring issue ahead of FA Cup final against Chelsea

The Brazilian pulled up as he sprinted after Philippe Coutinho and had to be replaced by Jordan Henderson at Villa Park Read more »

Man Utd youth coach assesses club's "exciting" kids and his own rise ahead of cup final

Justin Cochrane started his coaching career while a teenage player at QPR when he placed an advert in his local paper for juniors to teach. It didn’t make big news ... Read more »

One year on from football's social media blackout - what's changed?

More than one year on from the social media boycott aimed at tackling discrimination and vile abuse online has anything really changed? You'll remember that at the end of April ... Read more »

European transfer news: Real Madrid up stakes for Kylian Mbappe plus Casemiro exit

Real Madrid have long been linked with Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe and despite speculation the France star is set to sign a new contract with the Ligue 1 giants ... Read more »

Sadio Mane's 'childhood dream' comes to light as Liverpool star linked with summer exit

Sadio Mane 's dream destination has come to light amid links of a summer transfer to Bayern Munich. The Liverpool star is yet to sign a new contract with the ... Read more »

Jadon Sancho's Erling Haaland plea falls on deaf ears as he ignores Man Utd star's wishes

jQuery(function(){ if (typeof jwplayer_load == typeof indefined) { var jwplayer_load = 1; jQuery(window).load(function(){ jQuery(".sc_video_shortcode_jwplayer").each(function(){ var _this = $(this); jQuery.get(jQuery(this).attr("url"), function(data, status){ if (typeof data.split("\n") !== typeof undefined) { var src ... Read more »

Edu 'steps up' Arsenal transfer efforts for £17m Scotland star to replace Nuno Tavares

Arsenal have reportedly stepped up their attempts to sign Scotland star Aaron Hickey as a replacement for Nuno Tavares. After laying out the Gunners' transfer plans, technical director Edu is ... Read more »

Newcastle prepare summer transfer cull with as many as 10 stars 'facing axe'

jQuery(function(){ if (typeof jwplayer_load == typeof indefined) { var jwplayer_load = 1; jQuery(window).load(function(){ jQuery(".sc_video_shortcode_jwplayer").each(function(){ var _this = $(this); jQuery.get(jQuery(this).attr("url"), function(data, status){ if (typeof data.split("\n") !== typeof undefined) { var src ... Read more »

5 Man City casualties from Erling Haaland transfer including brand new signing

The sight of Erling Haaland arriving at Manchester City will send tremors of terror throughout the Premier League – and perhaps to his team-mates as well – as the champions ... Read more »

Chelsea ace Antonio Rudiger signs Real Madrid contract with huge release clause

Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has now penned a bumper pre-contract agreement with Real Madrid to bring his five-year stint at Stamford Bridge to an end, according to a new report. ... Read more »

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was spot on about Erling Haaland after revealing thoughts on Man Utd

jQuery(function(){ if (typeof jwplayer_load == typeof indefined) { var jwplayer_load = 1; jQuery(window).load(function(){ jQuery(".sc_video_shortcode_jwplayer").each(function(){ var _this = $(this); jQuery.get(jQuery(this).attr("url"), function(data, status){ if (typeof data.split("\n") !== typeof undefined) { var src ... Read more »

Fifth senior Man Utd figure leaves club as chief strategy officer exits in reshuffle

Manchester United have told their employees chief strategy officer Hemen Tseayo is stepping down from his position. A new era began at Old Trafford in February when Richard Arnold became ... Read more »

7 flops who cost more than Erling Haaland after bargain Man City transfer announced

The capture of Erling Haaland has sent pulses racing amongst Manchester City fans as the Premier League prepares to welcome the Norwegian hot-shot. The champions have agreed a £51million deal ... Read more »

Arsenal desperate to prevent Eddie Nketiah exit with six Premier League rivals keen

jQuery(function(){ if (typeof jwplayer_load == typeof indefined) { var jwplayer_load = 1; jQuery(window).load(function(){ jQuery(".sc_video_shortcode_jwplayer").each(function(){ var _this = $(this); jQuery.get(jQuery(this).attr("url"), function(data, status){ if (typeof data.split("\n") !== typeof undefined) { var src ... Read more »

Pep Guardiola reacts to uproar over Liverpool comments after Jurgen Klopp response

jQuery(function(){ if (typeof jwplayer_load == typeof indefined) { var jwplayer_load = 1; jQuery(window).load(function(){ jQuery(".sc_video_shortcode_jwplayer").each(function(){ var _this = $(this); jQuery.get(jQuery(this).attr("url"), function(data, status){ if (typeof data.split("\n") !== typeof undefined) { var src ... Read more »

Brighton starlet attracting transfer attention days after returning from loan

Highly-rated Brighton goalkeeper Carl Rushworth is back training with the Premier League club after his loan at Walsall ended. Rushworth made 43 appearances for Walsall keeping 11 clean sheets for ... Read more »

Lazio president responds to Man Utd's transfer 'interest' in Sergej Milinkovic-Savic

Lazio president Claudio Lotito insists Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is not for sale amid rumours linking him with both Juventus and Manchester United. The Serbia international, 27, has impressed for Lazio this ... Read more »

Cristiano Ronaldo's seven-year prediction on £30m Arsenal transfer speaks volumes

jQuery(function(){ if (typeof jwplayer_load == typeof indefined) { var jwplayer_load = 1; jQuery(window).load(function(){ jQuery(".sc_video_shortcode_jwplayer").each(function(){ var _this = $(this); jQuery.get(jQuery(this).attr("url"), function(data, status){ if (typeof data.split("\n") !== typeof undefined) { var src ... Read more »

Gary Lineker hits out at Patrice Evra for talking "utter nonsense" about Pep Guardiola

Gary Lineker has responded to Patrice Evra's claim that Pep Guardiola doesn't want any leaders at Manchester City due to his management. The former Manchester United defender believes the Spaniard ... Read more »

Stats show Antonio Conte justified in hitting back at Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool 'excuses'

jQuery(function(){ if (typeof jwplayer_load == typeof indefined) { var jwplayer_load = 1; jQuery(window).load(function(){ jQuery(".sc_video_shortcode_jwplayer").each(function(){ var _this = $(this); jQuery.get(jQuery(this).attr("url"), function(data, status){ if (typeof data.split("\n") !== typeof undefined) { var src ... Read more »

Borussia Dortmund immediately name Erling Haaland replacement amid failed Man Utd attempt

Borussia Dortmund have already replaced Erling Haaland by snapping up RB Salzburg hotshot Karim Adeyemi – despite Manchester United's late attempt to hijack the deal. Dortmund have been braced for ... Read more »

Patrick Vieira selects best players he played with and against during legendary career

Patrick Vieira has named Zinedine Zidane, Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry as the best three players he played with during his illustrious playing career. Vieira, who is now the manager ... Read more »

Ralf Rangnick's 4 most controversial Man Utd remarks as Rio Ferdinand calls him "distasteful"

jQuery(function(){ if (typeof jwplayer_load == typeof indefined) { var jwplayer_load = 1; jQuery(window).load(function(){ jQuery(".sc_video_shortcode_jwplayer").each(function(){ var _this = $(this); jQuery.get(jQuery(this).attr("url"), function(data, status){ if (typeof data.split("\n") !== typeof undefined) { var src ... Read more »

Roy Hodgson responds to angry Watford fan backlash after his "snub" at Crystal Palace

Roy Hodson has apologised to Watford fans for failing to acknowledge them in the dark hour of relegation but insisted: “I didn't snub them deliberately.” As their relegation to the ... Read more »

Jesse Marsch quotes Gandhi, JFK and Mother Teresa in bizarre Leeds survival team talk

It is hardly “we’ll fight them on the beaches” stuff, but Jesse Marsch is using sayings by Gandhi and Mother Teresa to fire up his Leeds players for their relegation ... Read more »

Birmingham could sign ex-Atletico Madrid and Chelsea striker if Maxi Lopez buys club

Former Argentine footballer Maxi Lopez wants to sign free agent Diego Costa if he gets control at Birmingham. Birmingham’s Chinese owners are ready to sell a stake in the club ... Read more »

Jose Mourinho demands "explanation" and "respect" in furious Roma outburst

Jose Mourinho has demanded that Roma receive an “explanation” for decisions that went against them in their bruising 2-0 defeat to Fiorentina on Monday. The Giallorossi, not so fresh from ... Read more »

FA Youth Cup final 2022: Man Utd stars to watch vs Nottingham Forest, from Alejandro Garnacho to Joe Hugill

United take on Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford on Wednesday bidding for a record 11th competition triumph Read more »

Antonio Conte taunts Jurgen Klopp with strong response to Liverpool boss' dig

Antonio Conte has hit back at Jurgen Klopp's analysis of his Tottenham side, insisting that Liverpool were lucky to escape with a point from their weekend meeting at Anfield. Spurs ... Read more »

5 free agents Erik ten Hag could target with Man Utd summer transfer budget in question

jQuery(function(){ if (typeof jwplayer_load == typeof indefined) { var jwplayer_load = 1; jQuery(window).load(function(){ jQuery(".sc_video_shortcode_jwplayer").each(function(){ var _this = $(this); jQuery.get(jQuery(this).attr("url"), function(data, status){ if (typeof data.split("\n") !== typeof undefined) { var src ... Read more »

Man City confirm sensational Erling Haaland transfer to sign Europe's hottest property

Manchester City have announced the stunning capture of Erling Haaland after meeting his release clause at Borussia Dortmund. The Norway international, 21, has arguably been the most sought-after player in ... Read more »

Man Utd 'prepare formal bid' for Portuguese youngster who impressed Bruno Fernandes

Manchester United are reportedly preparing a 'formal proposal' for Sporting Lisbon centre-back Goncalo Inacio. Inacio, who came through Sporting's youth ranks, made his senior breakthrough in the 2020/21 season after ... Read more »

Jack Wilshere in Denmark: How Arsenal hero has fared as he provides vital assist

11 years ago this month, Jack Wilshere was fulfilling media duties for England ahead of the Three Lions Euro 2012 qualifying clash against Switzerland. Not one reporter in the room ... Read more »

Erling Haaland transfer: Man City confirm agreement in principle to sign Borussia Dortmund striker for £64m

City are still finalising terms with Haaland, who passed a medical in Belgium on Monday Read more »