TNC Archive 2016
MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN
Censorship within the arts was something relegated to history...so we thought. The idea that within our modern cultural landscape creators could face restrictions on their works and face a backlash that sees them receive death threats and assaults is utterly mind-blowing.
Illma Gore's artwork depicting Donald Trump fully nude should be championed and celebrated for the freedom, expression, fearless power and conversation that the image has started. The negative responses is always going to be there but should never come at a cost to the creative endeavour of the artist or the open-mindedness of a pubic willing to see these works.
Public figures that use their celebrity, wealth, and position within the media to become overindulged blowhards must also remember that this position means they will become fair game by those within the creative sphere.
Hello Illma, thank you for talking to The New Current, how have you been keeping?
I am highly caffeinated, on my way back to Los Angeles from London!
Did you ever think you'd start a global conversation about art, after everything that's been going on, that must make you feel proud?
I never really thought of the outcome until now, I am proud to have been a little part of this discussion in art.
Art runs in your family, when did you discover your passion for painting?
Creativity runs on my mothers side she was always creative. I discovered it as a child, albeit contradictorily my first lesson as a child was 'not to draw on the walls' but all I saw was a big blank canvas. Since that lesson it has sort of a been a catalyst for the rest of my artwork. Kind of sitting on the line of being kicked out or told not to, but also celebrating creativity.
Do you remember the first piece you ever completed?
I should send you my ultrasound pictures. I distinctly remember being in trouble in school a lot for painting the teacher would confiscate my work, and I'd see it hanging up the next day.
If you could look back at it now what would go through your head?
Drink more coffee.
What inspires your work?
Our physical selves, life, technology and the future.
How much has your style and approach evolved over the years?
I believe losing my parents allowed me to grow into the artist I always wanted to be, sooner. I hope to always be growing with style and approach as an artist.
How important is it for you to ask questions with your work?
I think the question 'Why?" is so important. It forces you learn 'how' to think and not 'what' to think.
Is it hard to let go of the work once it's complete?
Everything is temporary, it's all a part of the artwork.
February 9th this year you posted an image of your painting Make American Great Again, did you ever expect to get the type of reaction you've gotten?
I don't think there is enough caffeine in the world to ready yourself for a reaction like this.
From Trump lawsuits, death threats, eBay delistings and Facebook how have you manage to stay focused and positive in all this?
I see it as one big art piece.
When you started the painting did it ever cross your mind that you could face this type of censorship for your work?
No, it was very disheartening. It made me sad for the creative community. Who almost solely depends on social media as a means of getting their work out there.
Can you tell me a little bit about Make American Great Again, what was your inspiration behind the painting?
It was created to evoke a reaction from its audience, good or bad about the significance we place on genitals and how it ties to gender. One should not feel emasculated by the penis size or vagina, as it does not define who you are. Your genitals do not define your gender, your power, or your status.
Simply, put you can be a massive prick, despite what's in your pants.
You're put a high res image of your painting for free on your website, what was the decision behind this move?
To rebuke censorship, and so people could have it for free.
'One should not feel emasculated by the penis size or vagina, as it does not define who you are.'
How did you feel when you found out that The Maddox Gallery in London offered to exhibit Make American Great Again?
Happy to show it, and sad that it wasn't in my home and a place that celebrates "freedom of speech".
Have you been surprised by the attitude from within the US?
Yes and no.
You have also stated that your fee is going to be donate to Safe Place For Youth, a homeless shelter in LA, are you involved much in the charity?
Yes they are super dear to my heart as I was once a homeless youth and needed to help from organisations like them.
What advice could you offer an up can coming artist?
Don't listen to what anyone else says. Do what you believe in and do it with all of your heart.
And finally what do you hope people will take away from your work?
I hope it makes them say "hmm".