Artists Embrace World Cup

The humble soccer ball inspires two very different projects.

Red Hong Yi paints a portrait of World Cup soccer stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Lionel Messi using her feet and a soccer ball. Photo: courtesy Red Hong Yi.
Red Hong Yi paints a portrait of World Cup soccer stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Lionel Messi using her feet and a soccer ball. Photo: courtesy Red Hong Yi.

Craving more World-Cup inspired art? artnet News has your soccer art fix with two new projects: Chinese artist Red Hong Yi has traded in her paint brush for a soccer ball, which she uses to create portraits of some of the sport’s biggest stars, while British photographer Mandy Barker takes advantage of the world’s current fixation on the sport to draw attention to the problem of marine pollution by photographing 769 soccer balls that were washed ashore on beaches all over the world.

Mandy Barker Europe (2014), part of the "Penalty" series. Photo: Mandy Barker.

Mandy Barker, Europe (2014), part of the “Penalty” series.
Photo: Mandy Barker.

As reported by Complex, Barker has created a haunting constellation of warped, faded, and deflated soccer balls photographed on a stark black background for the series, titled, appropriately, “Penalty.” Before embarking on the project, Barker put out the call for salvaged balls on social media. The response was impressive: over a four-month period, 89 people scoured 144 beaches in 41 countries and islands.

Mandy Barker, assorted soccer balls washed ashore in different countries (2014), part of the "Penalty" series. Photo: Mandy Barker.

Mandy Barker, assorted soccer balls washed ashore in different countries (2014), part of the “Penalty” series.
Photo: Mandy Barker.

Barker created separate images for balls recovered in the UK and Europe. A third shows all 769 soccer balls she received, while a fourth image is limited to the 228 soccer balls that one person collected all by themselves. She also hones in on 32 individual balls from 32 different countries, representing the number of pentagonal panels that traditionally are found on a soccer ball, as well as the number of teams that earn entry into the World Cup tournament.

According to a statement on her website, the artist hopes that the photos, despite their otherworldly beauty, will “highlight the penalty we will ultimately pay” for the global problem of marine pollution.

Mandy Barker The World (2014), part of the "Penalty" series. Photo: Mandy Barker.

Mandy Barker The World (2014), part of the “Penalty” series.
Photo: Mandy Barker.

Less thought-provoking, but perhaps more visually engaging, is the latest work from Red Hong Yi. Using a soccer ball as her painting implement, the Shanghai-based artist has made large-scale portraits of Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Brazil’s Neymar, and Lionel Messi of Argentina, reports Designboom.

Rod Hong Yi paints a portrait of World Cup soccer stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Lionel Messi using her feet and a soccer ball. Photo: courtesy Red Hong Yi.

Red Hong Yi paints a portrait of World Cup soccer stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Lionel Messi using her feet and a soccer ball.
Photo: courtesy Red Hong Yi.

She dips the ball in colored paint, and then carefully rolls and kicks it across the canvas, slowly and deliberately bringing to life the desired image. It’s a clever means of translating the game’s physical actions into impressive, soccer-themed artwork.

Rod Hong Yi, portrait of World Cup soccer stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Lionel Messi, painted using her feet and a soccer ball. Photo: courtesy Red Hong Yi.

Red Hong Yi, portrait of World Cup soccer stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Lionel Messi, painted using her feet and a soccer ball.
Photo: courtesy Red Hong Yi.


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