By CAROLYN LUCAS-ZENK
Upon getting the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle, Dr. Cliff Kopp knew he had more than one puzzle to solve.
It took the local dentist just 56 days to complete the 32,256-piece puzzle “Double Retrospect” by American artist Keith Haring. More than a year later, he found the perfect place to display it: Xpress Reprographics on Luhia Street in Kailua-Kona.
Kopp said he knew when purchasing the 19-foot-by-7-foot puzzle that it would not be hung in his Kona home because the only place possible was the ceiling on his dining room.
His colossal creation, made up of 32 panels featuring the colorful scribblings of stick men, animals and objects, has been hanging on the wall of Xpress Reprographics since September. On Sunday, Kopp finally completed the touch up work on the 23 1/2-inch bolt holes helping hold the framed piece in place, followed by a final coat of paint on the wall.
“Double Retrospect” is the 10th big puzzle — ones that are more than 5 feet in either dimension — Kopp has completed. The second biggest, the 24,000-piece “Life” by New Zealand artist Royce McClure, was completed in 2007 and is hanging in his living room. Now currently in the works is a 9,000-piece puzzle called “The Bombardment of Algiers.”
Kopp’s interest in puzzles grew out of a favorite pastime. Growing up in Long Island, N.Y., his mother would often give him puzzles to pass the time when he was home sick or stuck indoors by cold weather.
However, big puzzles are not merely child’s play. Kopp explained how many are masterpieces of geometric precision that can only be solved by the most tenacious die-hards. Kopp said he gets “intense” about puzzles and is “very focused” during the times he works on them on his pool table. He does not think about other projects he may have or any problems of the day.
Kopp started “Double Retrospect” in March 30, 2011, and completed it May 25, 2011.
“The puzzle is packaged in eight 4,032-piece sections, therefore admittedly, it was more a test of endurance than outright skill, similar to a hot dog eating contest or running a marathon,” he said.
Kopp hopes the public enjoys seeing “Double Retrospect,” it reawakens fond childhood memories of doing puzzles and it, perhaps, sparks their interest to do a puzzle of any size. He described Haring’s graffiti-like art as being modern day petroglyphs and explained most of his pieces had vague, ambiguous or no interpretation. For keiki interested in graffiti, he hopes his puzzle inspires them to explore different mediums.
Email Carolyn Lucas-Zenk at email@example.com.