These people are the postmodern answer to counterfeiters. When they want something (anything, really, from a $13 order of Buffalo wings to a $1200 rent cheque), they paint an image of the thing they desire, and then sell the painting for the exact price of the object– with a promise to spend the money on the thing they painted. This iPhone painting was originally priced at $600+, and they reduced the price to ~$400 when iPhones got cheaper. They also make & sell the occasional painting of a charitable donation. I like this idea very much.
Thanks to Cameron‘s iPhone for the tip.