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If you are one of those kids that loves to solve puzzles or finding your way through mazes, Pittsburgh artist Joe Wos is looking for you. That's because while he is almost done sketching what is most likely the world's largest hand-drawn maze, he cannot get into the record books until he finds someone willing to put in the 30-40 hours it will take to solve it - That is, if it is solvable at all, something the artist is only 99% certain about.
Joe, a cartoonist at ToonSeum in downtown Pittsburgh says that as a child his doodles, spread over large pieces of paper, often turned to mazes that he would proudly display on his room wall. Therefore when he recently decided that one of his life-long goals was to get into the Guinness World Records, it was the one thing he knew he could do well.
He was even more encouraged when he realized that while there were six maze records in the book, none of them were for hand-drawn ones. So, he contacted the folks at the company to see if they would consider his idea. While they agreed, they had a few conditions - The maze would have to be completely drawn by hand and at least 10 square meters (107 Square Feet). Also, to ensure that he created the entire maze solo, it had to be witnessed by least five people at regular intervals. And last but not least, the maze puzzle had to be solved by somebody.
Not envisioning any problems with the conditions, Joe began drawing his masterpiece on July 27th. Instead of using a pencil so that he could erase mistakes, he decided to challenge himself, by using a thin black sharpie and being creative with the mistakes by adding fun illustrations. Along the way, he also decided he wanted to take his giant maze on an international tour to showcase it to children and adults all over the world. So, he started to seek out sponsors - In return for the money, he incorporated their company logo or icon into his masterpiece.
The result? An intricate giant puzzle that embodies his fund-raising efforts, moods, hunger and mistakes flawlessly. Among the 100 illustrations is the famous Starkist Tuna fish ($500), some fun cartoons (just because), pancakes and steak (he was hungry) a packed car (he was impatient and wanted to leave) and a factory with an 'out of order' sign (covering up a mistake).
There is only one roadblock left to Joe's path to the record books - A solver. And for a while things looked pretty bleak. The 42-year old's rejections began at home when all three of his kids declined to even give the maze a try. His plea on Facebook yielded a similar response. He then began approaching his colleagues - While they all initially declined, he managed to convince the founder of ToonSeum to give it a shot, by pointing out that her name too would appear in the record books. Things did improve after his plight became known to the general public. There are now 20 people from all across the country that have volunteered to help out, if necassary.
If all goes well, Joe believes he will be able to cross 'Get Into the Guinness World Records' off his bucket list, by the end of the year. While that gets him excited, what would make him even more so, is if a kid took up the challenge and managed to complete the maze. That's because not only are they better at solving puzzles but also because he wants 50-year-old dad's to stop hitting their kids' shoulders and saying 'Hey look, that's a-maz-ing', and then waiting to hear them laugh at the corny joke. So, if you have 30-40 hours to spare and are up to the challenge of solving the world's largest maze puzzle, be sure to let him know, by adding your comments below!
Resources: huffingtonpost.com, wsj.com