Leonardo Iriarte was born in Morelia,
He grew up in the middle of a family of
artists and Bohemians who taught him how to express himself through their use
and understanding of the hand and body arts, such as clowning and miming.
Leo moved to Los Angeles, California
in 2001, after living in Cancún, Mexico City and Madrid. In Los Angeles, Leo demonstrated his artistic
skills and creativity through his work as a flower designer for a variety of
Leo always showed his interest in helping
others, giving money to help children in need and participating in activities
In 2010, Leo began attending public events
in clown costume and make up—initially as a way of enlivening the crowd. He
drew attention that inspired others to join his cause to change the lives of
children who are in need. The concept
of The Payasos was becoming reality.
Also in 2010, Leo decided to compete for the
title of Mr. Leatherman, in part, to use it for the benefit of developing awareness
of The Payasos and in turn, helping more children in need. He entered several local city competitions
until he was elected “Mr. Leatherman 2011” from the Regiment of the Black and
And then, by the spring of the same year, a
group of friends met to formalize the creation of The Payasos as a full fledged charity organization, Payasos-L.A.