Super Bowl Ad Shows Artist Magically Creating Football Painting

Red Hong, Immaculate Reception, video still from ad.
Red Hong, Immaculate Reception, video still from ad.

As America gears up for the Super Bowl, many people look forward to the commercials as much as, if not more than the football, beer and guacamole.  Shanghai-based artist Red Hong Yi will certainly appeal to that audience, with her clever ad that combines performance art, science, and painting to dramatic effect.

Painting on AstroTurf, Red depicts Pittsburgh Steelers fullback Franco Harris’s so-called “Immaculate Reception,” the controversial catch that gave the Steelers the win over the Oakland Raiders in the 1972 AFC Divisional playoff game.

Red seem to be a sports fan, having previously immortalized soccer stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and Lionel Messi during the World Cup in a trio of portraits (see Artists Embrace World Cup). Not content to use the sport as the work’s subject, Red also showed off her ball handling skills, dipping a soccer ball in different colored paints and carefully kicking it across the canvas to create her image.

Red Hong, <em>Immaculate Reception</em>, video still from ad.

Red Hong, Immaculate Reception, video still from ad.

To make her latest work, Red first painted her image using a super hydrophobic chemical that repels water. After experimenting with materials, she set up her shot, dumping white paint on her seemingly blank canvas.

The resulting 30 second spot is captivating, the image of Harris’s improbable catch appearing seemingly by magic as Red effortlessly pours paint on the AstroTurf. It’s fitting, given that the ad is for, which is promoting its website building tools under the hashtag #ItsThatEasy.

“The challenge was to work around the theme of #ItsThatEasy in a new and compelling way through art,” said Red in a behind the scenes video about the commercial.

As for the big game, the stakes are surprisingly high for the art world: the Seattle Art Museum and New England’s Clark Institute of Art have each bet on the Super Bowl outcome, agreeing to loan each other paintings based on whether the Patriots or Seahawks win (see Museums Bet Major Paintings on Super Bowl Win).

Watch the making of Red Hong Yi’s Immaculate Reception painting for

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