The lucky winner of an auction for a George Zimmerman painting selling for about $100,000 could see the artwork personally delivered by the former neighborhood watchman himself.
The eBay posting originally stated that the portrait would be sent via expedited shipping from Sanford, Florida, but in a response to a buyer who wanted to drive from Arkansas to pick up the painting, the terms changed.
“The price it is at now has well exceeded my $.99 minimum; therefore, whoever wins within the Continental United States, will receive this painting delivered by me personally,” the reply says.
The 18-by-24-inch canvas features a blue, waving American flag with the words, “God, one nation, with liberty and justice for all” emblazoned across it.
The auction was posted Monday at a starting bid of 99 cents and is scheduled to end Saturday. As of Wednesday, 108 bids had been logged for the painting, ratcheting the price up to $110,100, but it appears some bids were retracted and it was selling for $100,099 in the evening.
Zimmerman’s brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr., says George painted the piece.
“Everyone has been asking what I have been doing with myself. I found a creative, way to express myself, my emotions and the symbols that represent my experiences,” the item description reads. “My art work allows me to reflect, providing a therapeutic outlet and allows me to remain indoors.”
Zimmerman appears to respond directly to at least 11 questions sent about the item, although the site states more than 900 inquiries were made.
“Just wanted to tell you we all love you and stand behind you. You have so many people on your side I hope you know that!” a commenter wrote on the eBay page.
“Thank you so much for the words of kindness and support,” reads the answer. “I do know how many great Americans are still here, I run into at least 3-5 a day that go out of their way to tell me the same. Your Friend, GZ.”
“I am truly sorry our government run liberal media and justice department persecuted you they (sic) way they did,” another comment says.
“God Bless you. You have nothing to apologize to me for. The system is broken, an innocent man should not spend one second without his God given liberty, solely because a small sect of uneducated loud mouths. We must fix it. If we can’t fix it together, then we owe many people a sincere apology,” the reply says.
Photos were added to the auction Tuesday, including one of a grinning, flannel-clad George Zimmerman holding the painting.
The artwork has stirred up controversy online and in art circles.
As of Wednesday, at least a dozen other listings could be found on eBay with their own takes and variations of Zimmerman’s posting, including one with the American flag bearing the words, “Not for a coward to hide behind.”
Consultant and art appraiser Jane Cofer said it appears there was skill required in producing the work.
“It’s not the worst painting I ever saw. He was certainly able to capture some shadows in the flag and some movement,” Cofer said.
Those who are driving up the price are likely not art lovers, but more likely Zimmerman’s supporters.
“America seems to love to support their causes, to put money towards them — to support that,” she said.
Online, a flurry of tweets and Facebook postings deride the painting’s originality and even accuse Zimmerman of plagiarism.
A Democratic Underground blog post points out if one were to zoom in and Photoshop one of its own photos of the American flag, which the site purchased from Getty Images, it would look very much like Zimmerman’s painting.
When contacted, the site administrator said he thought it was “humorous” Zimmerman had picked an image the site had used for its T-shirts long ago.
“Nor are we accusing Zimmerman of photoshopping his artwork. If you do a Google image search for ‘US flag’ or ‘American flag,’ that particular image comes up near the top of the results. So it appears to us that Zimmerman found the image on Google and used it as the basis for his painting,” Dave Allsopp said in an e-mail. “Since most of the people who visit our website are critics of George Zimmerman, we thought they would find it amusing that he’d used a photograph that we had once used on our T-shirts.”
The listing states that the painting is a signed original and that it was made using donated household latex paint.
Zimmerman has been in and out of the spotlight since his July acquittal in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012.
Last week, Florida prosecutors said they would not charge Zimmerman after a domestic dispute with his girlfriend in November resulted in his arrest. Previously, he was stopped several times for speeding.
Zimmerman told a judge last month he had $150 to his name and was $2.5 million in debt.