ST. PETERSBURG — Jennifer Stone-Anderson says her 2004 Saturn Ion became a work of art this fall when she covered it with elaborate paintings supporting Barack Obama.
But Chrysler, which financed the purchase, maintains that it's just a car. And that Stone-Anderson has been missing payments. And that her work of "art" is about to be repossessed.
Stone-Anderson's unemployment was the root of the art, but her lack of work may also bring the loss of it. In May she gained free time when she was laid off from Rainbow Art and Design in Tampa, so she started painting her car with leftover acrylics.
Since the layoff, she has been working as a freelance artist, but hasn't been able to find enough work to keep all the bills paid.
She missed her car payments in December, January and February and has started receiving calls from Chrysler. She has ignored them.
She said that Chrysler has the paperwork to repossess the car, and it's really just a matter of the company finding it at this point. The car is hard to miss, but Stone-Anderson said she's not worried about the company taking it.
"Barack says he's an eternal optimist," she said. "We're like minds."
It took Stone-Anderson four months of planning and two months of painting to transform the car from humdrum white to a vibrant montage of political art. The car's vignettes call for change in areas such as recycling, alternative energy, breast cancer awareness and health care. In July, she even wrangled the novelty plate "44 PREZ."
Everywhere she takes the car, Stone-Anderson uses it to jump-start conversation. "This car is a magnet," she said.
The reaction to the car hasn't been all good. Some people have screamed obscenities at her.
What does she think President Obama himself would have to say about her art?
"He'd say, 'I'm too busy. Let me solve the world's problems,' " she said.
Her biggest dream for the car right now is just to get it sold so she can appease Chrysler and get a new car.