As Marshall McLuhan famously said, the medium is the message. Perhaps never more so, though, than when an artist paints a trio of World Cup greats using only her two feet and a soccer ball–an act that probably takes almost as much coordination as snaking one past the midfielder.
In the past, “Red” Hong Yi has done a lot with food painting, and her latest work has got a bit of a kick to it as well. The Shanghai-based artist is using the 2014 FIFA World Cup as her muse by painting three of the series’s best-loved players–Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Neymar–using her apparently rather dextrous lower appendages. It reportedly took eight trays of colored paints to complete the piece, but in the end Yi definitely scored.
In a video of her process, you can see the artist dipping the ball into the paint, outlining the players’ heads with it, and eventually she adds in all the details in a manner that looks like dribbling. Ultimately, she nails everything from facial hair to Adam’s apple shading and jersey color, making each of them utterly recognizable. Most artists only engage with athletes from the sidelines, but with Yi, the shoe is on the other foot. Of course, she had plenty of practice before, by painting a portrait of Yao Ming using only a basketball.
Watch a video of the artist at work in the video below.