MY FAVORITE ARTIST is my friend, 7 year old Mario Oliva. 

Mario is a wonderful artist, so several months ago I asked him if he would do a football painting for the Deacon Jones Foundation’s NFL collection.  He asked me to give him reference pictures and I searched and gave him a lot.  Apparently his mother also took some photos in my house that I was unaware of, and finally, last week Mario’s mother told me he had finished his painting and wanted to present it to me as my gift.

Mario OlivaSunday morning before church Mario and his mother came to my house to give me my surprise. Mario told me that he was sorry that it took such a long time to do but he knew it was important to me and he wanted it to be just right.  I guess that Mario wants to be a perfect photo artist because not only did he paint a wonderful picture of one of Deacon’e helmets I have in my home, but he did a great job of forging Deacon’s signature, as well!

He is so adorable—wanted to know what “HOF” meant, and I had to counsel him about copying autographs in the future, too.  I don’t ever want to see him behind bars just because he wants to make everything letter perfect.  I absolutely love my newest NFL painting—even including the very good forgery

Thank you, Mario!  Your painting means so much to me.