Skittles Art Depicts Trayvon Killer

DENVER, COLORADO - The most crucial facts remain in dispute about what happened on February 26th, the night George Zimmerman killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. If there is any art value in the killing that has gripped American media, art collectors of ArtKabinett network know that our website will find it. So here you go...

The young Martin had been on a trip to the store to buy Skittles and ice tea when the incident took place. The popular candy has now become a symbol of Trayvon Martin’s innocence (if you believe in it) and his youth (no matter what you may think about the killing facts).

Trayvon was a 17 year old minding his own business, walking, and talking to his girlfriend on a cell phone. And they

These candies make an appropriate medium for Denver artist Andy Bell’s portrait of George Zimmerman, now hanging in RedLine Gallery downtown Denver.

Bell’s piece, “Fear Itself,” transforms Zimmerman’s much-seen mug shot into a 36″ by 48″ artwork. The portrait consists of 12,250 Skittles, each one of various colors glued to plywood and covered with varnish.

Bell, 31, who is just days from graduating from Metro State College with his BFA, started the portrait when he first got word of the killing and thought a possible injustice wasn’t getting the attention it deserved. “I wanted to do all I could to raise awareness about the case,” he said.

Andy Bell is an unknown artist and a student at Metro State College

He put the now-famous Zimmerman mug shot through some Photoshop paces and mapped out a way of recreating it in red, green, yellow and orange candies. His wife and friends helped him with the gluing each piece of candy. “It became family puzzle night,” he said.

Bell was on a school field trip to RedLine this week and showed a few phone shots to operations manager Louise Martorano. RedLine, a fine arts space that does not shy away from showcasing controversial work, quickly found a place for it on its walls.

RedLine’s executive director PJ D’Amico describes the work as a “crazy, terribly beautiful piece,” that is “profound beyond measure.”

Bell’s piece is clever, but it’s grounded in the solid sort of art history, an art student wears on his sleeve.

There are influences of everything from the late 1800s work of Georges Seurat , the father of pointillism, to Chuck Close , the contemporary artist who builds large portraits by assembling smaller images in pixilated form. The use of Skittles offers a nod to Andy Warhol’s taste for incorporating mass commercial products in fine art.

Despite the portrait’s title, Bell makes clear he has some sympathy for the older Zimmerman, who may have a history of mental illness. He is waiting to hear the facts before making his own judgment, he said.

The piece isn’t about condemning George Zimmerman before his criminal trial, but a way of tapping into the conversations that have sprung up in a country divided by judgment on the case. Some believe Zimmerman killed an innocent kid. Others think he was acting in self-defense.