Artist paints Junior Seau tribute to give hope

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SAN DIEGO -- Ahead of Saturday’s induction of Junior Seau into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a local artist has painted a tribute to the late San Diego Chargers’ linebacker.

The painting hangs at the Mike Hess Brewery in North Park for all to see. Local artist Esmeralda Robles said it’s a tribute to Seau, but also wants it to inspire hope.

The long-time Chargers fan said words have always failed her so she paints to express herself. With every brush stroke, she is communicating.

"I have been told before that my art is my voice,” Robles said. “That I speak through my art."

Her work has been displayed all over San Diego. This time, it’s her portrait of Seau hanging in the Mike Hess Brewery in North Park that she hopes people can appreciate. Fans say they do.

“It’s good to remember him like that, you know, smiling,” said Chargers fan Guillermo Garcia.

Robles said Seau’s suicide affected her greatly, since she herself has struggled with thoughts of self-harm for years. She turned to painting to pull herself out of her depression.

"Suicide is…a temporary feeling but if you do it then it’s permanent and you can’t come back. There’s always something better for everyone out there,” Robles said.

She hopes the painting will start a dialogue about depression and will give hope to those affected by it.

"Actually, when I was painting him, I felt like he was right here watching me and all the hair stood up on my arm I got the chills because I felt his presence there watching me paint and I thought that maybe he liked it,” Robles said. “I just got to keep drawing and painting. That keeps me happy.”

The painting will be on display until Aug. 10.

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