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First Down

Spring 2010

He may have lost out on the Heisman Trophy in 2009, but Florida QB, Tim Tebow, can claim a new honor that few others can – an image of him in action gracing the walls of the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum in Orlando.

This is Ripley’s, so that means this is no ordinary portrait. Ripley’s has acquired a Tim Tebow mosaic made from more than 46,000 Airsoft BBs – the plastic balls used in a popular type of BB gun.

The artwork was created by Gainesville artist John O’Hearn. O’Hearn is primarily a sculptor, but has spent the last few years experimenting with Airsoft BB’s as a medium. The BBs act as pixels in the mosaics he creates. O’Hearn says he can recreate any picture or portrait from just 5 colors of BBs – red, green, blue, black and white – a challenge when your subject is wearing Gator orange. Red BBs are used in the helmet, but O’Hearn mixes them with green and white BBs to make the Florida orange.

The Tebow mosaic measures approximately 4 feet by 6 feet. It contains 227 tubes, and each tube contains 204 BBs – for a grand total of 46,308 tiny plastic balls.

Tebow joins an exclusive list of unique celebrity portraits that hang in Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Museums worldwide, including President Obama, Michael Jackson and Dean Cain all made from gumballs, Eminem made from M&M’s, Princess Diana made from dryer lint and Madonna made from junk mail.

The Tebow portrait is available for public viewing in the lobby of the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum in Orlando, and may become a permanent exhibit in the museum. The portrait can be seen for free, but normal admission is required to tour the museum.

Ripley’s Orlando Museum is located at 8201 International Drive. The hours are 9:30 a.m. to midnight daily.