Pat Tillman is our local hero.  I decided to do this new Pat Tillman painting because of the love and respect that our state has for him.  I attended and graduated from the same school (Arizona State University) as Tillman however years after him and with an art degree.  A little history about him; Pat Tillman graduated in 3.5 years in 1997 with a major in marketing and a gpa of 3.85 and earned many academic awards.  He was college footballs pac 10 defensive player of the year and helped ASU with an undefeated season and go to the Rose Bowl.  After graduation he was then drafted to the Arizona Cardinals in 1998.  In May 2002, eight months after the September 11 attacks and after completing the 15 remaining games of the 2001 season, Tillman turned down a 3 year contract of 3.6 million dollar to enlist in the U.S. Army.  He completed Ranger school and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2003.  On April 22, 2004 it was initially reported that he was killed by enemy fire in a combat situation off the border of Pakistan.  After the funeral the army investigated his death and said that he was killed by friendly fire.  There was much heated debate about the army’s reports and whether or not they were trying to cover up the truth to protect their name.  Either way I feel like he is a hero.  I don’t support the war and the false motives that our government has that put us in it,  but I have respect for anyone who joins any of our armed forces.  Its takes a special person to sacrifice their life for what they believe in and I feel like that is what Pat Tillman did.  His story is even stronger because he walked away from money, glory and fame to follow his heart and do what he thought was right.

I worked my ass off to finish this painting in time for the annual Pats Run charity event .  This will be the 12th annual Pats run which started out as a 5,000 person run to now over 35,000 people.  It takes place Sat April 23rd and proceeds go to The Pat Tillman foundation which benefit military veterans and their spouses through academic scholarships .  This event is a 4.2 mile run/walk that winds through the streets of Tempe and ends at Sun Devils Stadium.  I was honored to paint this piece and did my best to capture his strength, heart, selflessness and patriotism.  It will be on display at Local Patron, a bar on Mill Avenue at the base of A mountain (featured in the painting).  I will be getting prints of this one or a similar one that I am finishing made soon so stay tuned.

~Jared

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