Did Zimmerman Copy a Stock Photo for His ‘Original’ $100k Painting?

As of 12 noon on Tuesday, December 17th, George Zimmerman’s first “original” painting is fetching $99,960 on eBay. But how original is it? As Twitter user @raven_rainfall pointed out to Mediaite after we posted the image of Zimmerman’s “America”-themed artwork, the American flag image he used comes straight from stock photo company Shutterstock:

Here’s Zimmerman’s painting:

And here’s the approximate corresponding crop of the Shutterstock flag:

The best guess is that Zimmerman wanted to paint an American flag, so he searched for an image of one on Shutterstock or another site that features that company’s images and then just painted over it. While there’s no big art rule that says use of multimedia or even tracing is inherently “bad,” Zimmerman does not disclose the use of the foundation image, calling the piece “original” and “hand-painted.”

Seeing as Shutterstock’s images are copyrighted and are not free to use, things could potentially become legally complicated if Zimmerman did, indeed, crib the image from the stock photo company. Plus, if someone is going to drop $100,000 on Zimmerman’s first-ever painting, they’d probably want to know from where the image originated?

And while you may still think this is some giant internet hoax intended to make Americans lose further faith in humanity, Zimmerman himself posed for a photo with his painting and posted that on the eBay page as well. Hey, at least he look pleased with himself, right?

[images via Shutterstock, eBay]

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