Skittles candies have been front and center lately, usually accompanying an image of Trayvon Martin — the 17-year-old who was carrying the confection when he was slain by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman. Now a Denver artist has taken the totemic use of the rainbow-colored candy a step further and spun it on its head, or rather, Zimmerman’s.
Art student Andy Bell used purple, yellow, orange and lime-colored chews to construct a 36-inch by 48-inch mosaic portrait of a Zimmerman mugshot.
The piece, titled “Fear Itself,” is the newest — and possibly one of the most unorthodox — uses of Skittles in the protests spurred by Martin’s death in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman was charged this week with second-degree murder and remains in custody.
Protesters have worn Skittles bags over their mouths as symbolic gags during marches and pinned the bright red wrappers on their shirts, while public officials have shown their support for Martin’s family by eating the candy on television. In March, a woman attending a Million Hoodie March in Los Angeles held a sign that read “Walking and Eating Skittles is Not a Crime.”
Bell’s portrait took more than 12,000 Skittles to make. The artist had a few friends and his wife join in to glue the pieces together, he said on his Facebook page.
The piece isn’t a judgment about Zimmerman but rather a narrative about society, said P.J. D’Amico, executive director of RedLine Gallery, where “Fear Itself” is on display.
“It illustrates how important it is to change people’s perceptions,” he told The Times.
Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., a unit of Mars Inc. that owns Skittles, has issued a brief statement offering condolences to Martin’s friends and family.
The company said it would be “inappropriate to get involved or comment further as we would never wish for our actions to be perceived as an attempt of commercial gain.”