RIO DE JANEIRO – Globe-trotting Colombian artist Guillermo Leon Londońo’s travels have taken him to the Copa America in Brazil, where he is helping fans show the colors of their teams.
The artist decided to take a pause from creating paintings and murals 17 days ago, trading canvases and walls for a more delicate surface – the skin of clients in Rio de Janeiro.
Londońo paints the national team colors on the faces of all kinds of soccer-crazed fans – men and women, children and older people – in Brazil for the Copa America.
The artist said he really didn’t follow the tournament results, who the winners and losers were, but five days from the end of the Copa, fans clearly cherish the tiny artworks he creates and which can quickly be ruined by water.
Outside his improvised studio located meters from the Espacio Evolucion, a kind of embassy put up by the South American Soccer Confederation (Conmebol) on Copacabana beach, fans line up to have the master work his magic on a cheek or forehead.
Soccer fans request the flags of their national team or of the team they are following in the world’s oldest soccer tournament.
Londońo said he had lost count of how many flags and from which country he had painted on the cheeks of fans in Rio.
The artist said the most rewarding part of his job was seeing the excited reaction on fans’ faces when they looked at themselves in the mirror.
“The flag of Brazil is, without a doubt, the most requested one. And it’s special doing it because of the varied characteristics it has – the circle, the rhombus, the vivid colors,” Londońo said.
“Nonetheless, the work agenda is not dictated by the four teams still in the competition,” the artist said.
And if someone asks for the flags of countries that are gone from the tournament, like Qatar, Japan, Ecuador or Bolivia?
Londońo said that was not a problem because he did not need flag samples.
“It’s all on a hard disk drive,” Londońo said, smiling and tapping his head.