The man behind the World Cup hair portraits

July 8, 3:41 PM

Hair styles have been an unexpected subplot of the World Cup as superstars like Brazil's Neymar and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo garnered a great deal of attention when they switched up their hairdos during the group stage. 

While the players make news on the pitch with their flamboyant hairstyles, a new phenomenon emerged off the field when American hairstylist Rob Ferrel started making headlines for putting detailed portraits of World Cup stars on the craniums of paying customers.

Ferrel perfected the art of designing portraits in the back of customer's heads when word of his talents started to spread through San Antonio and patrons regularly asked for depictions of music stars and players from the San Antonio Spurs basketball team.

The demand, however, increased with the start of the World Cup as his skills caught the attention of Mexicans living in San Antonio who wanted their favorite players shaved into the back of their heads.

"When Mexico were still in it, we got lots of requests for them," Ferrel said, via ESPN. "But now that they are out, we are getting lots of requests for Neymar and Messi. … It's amazing, fans of these teams and players are everywhere."

It's the colour Ferrel implements in his designs that give the portraits a truly detailed look. After using a trimmer and straight razor, it's time give his design a life-like look with the use of eyeliner pencils and lip-liner pencils. He finishes off his piece of art with hairspray to ensure the design is protected when customers leave his shop. The entire process takes about two hours.

"I put on my headphones to get in a zone and jam out to music while I do it. I'll check with the customer every once in a while, but otherwise I just get locked in and when I'm done I sometimes even impress myself with my work," he said.

Feature photo courtesy of REUTERS/Ashley Landis