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Saturday, May 26, 2018
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McDonald’s art shows Tampa man no small fry in art world

— The sizzle might be gone for some soccer fans after the United States of America was eliminated from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

But Tampa artist Leon Bedore has millions of reminders of the competition.

Bedore is one of a dozen artists from across the globe whose World Cup-inspired work is being used on the cover of French fry boxes for McDonald’s restaurants worldwide. Of the 12 artists selected, he is the only one from the United States.

“It’s quite humbling,” said Bedore, 36. “I’m very fortunate. It’s a big one. I’ve never done one that has this much exposure.”

To pick the final artists, McDonald’s reviewed the works of 500 artists, then commissioned 24 to complete an art project that represented their passion for soccer. The works of the 12 winners are being displayed on french fry boxes in more than 100 countries.

Bedore submitted a 36-inch by 36-inch painting that he titled “Formations.”

He used acrylic paint and spray paint to design images of the game in the patches of a soccer ball he painted on a canvas. It’s a collage of different soccer images that collectively forms into one image of a player, Bedore said.

“I wanted to capture the energy, the movement and the excitement of the game,” Bedore said.

Bedore, who works on his art in a Town ‘N Country art studio and who paints by the name of Tes One, spent three weeks on the project. After completing his draft, he used his preferred style of acrylic paint and spray paint for his art piece.

“The game itself is a universal language,” Bedore said. “I wanted it to be familiar not only to the players but to the fans around the world.”

The McDonald’s art campaign, which is called McDonald’s Gol, is the first time the fast-food giant has changed the standard French fry boxes for a global campaign, said Debby Culbertson, global marketing director for McDonald’s.

“It was about creating the essence of the beautiful game,” Culbertson said.

Culbertson said the artwork, which was presented to consumers before it was selected, has been met with overwhelming approval. The other artists included in the campaign are from Australia, Brazil, China, Canada, England, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, South Africa and Spain.

Bedore was raised in St. Petersburg and has lived in Tampa for the past seven years. He graduated in 1996 from Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg and the school’s Pinellas County Center of the Arts program.

He began his career working on graffiti and street art. Later, he got into graphic design, he said.

He now blends graffiti art with his graphic design style to create work on canvasses and large scale murals, he said.

Bedore said he’s been contacted by family, friends and strangers, who see his name and title of the artwork on the French fry box. In the Tampa area, some McDonald’s restaurants carry his design and others don’t, he said.

He’s still trying to grasp that millions of people are exposed to his artwork a day.

“I’m still not used to it,” Bedore said. “It catches me by surprise. It’s cool to experience.”

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