illma gore will tattoo your name on her body for $10

Ever since she was a little girl Illma has wanted to cover her entire body in the name of art.

by Tish Weinstock
26 January 2015, 1:00pm

22-year-old street artist Illma Gore has launched a Kickstarter campaign called Tattoo Me, to fund her latest artistic project: tattooing your name on her body for $10. But this isn't some silly PR stunt, ever since she was a little girl Illma has wanted to cover her entire body in the name of art. And in a world where bodies are constantly objectified and measured against unrealistic ideals, it's refreshing to see a woman take hers back into her own control, albeit, somewhat contradictorily, through the complete submission of herself to the power of others. Following in a long line of performance artists like Wafaa Billal and Marina Abramovic, who famously lay passive on a table for six hours while the audience used an array of objects, including a whip and a loaded gun, to inflict upon her both pleasure and pain, Illma will be handing over complete creative control to people she has crowdsourced online. Despite setting herself up for potential ridicule, with names like ''Penis Butt'' and ''Tobacco Rat'' tattooed on her elbow (although she draws the line at messages of hate), Illma is happy to transform her body into an unsellable work of art. And people have been reacting positively. Within weeks of starting her campaign, she had raised $11,072, (nearly double her intended goal), however her account was inexplicably suspended and the funds raised withheld, forcing her to re-launch her campaign on GoFundMe, where it is kicking off all over again. We caught up with Illma to talk about lovers, haters, and how she hopes to challenge societal notions of beauty by turning her body into a blank canvas. Introducing Miss Illma Gore, a work in progress.

Have you always been interested in art?
I was always the kid at school who could paint and draw well. It runs in the family. Unfortunately growing up it was dangerous for me to live at home. So much so the streets were safer, at 15 I lived in an abandoned housing lot that I painted, I knew from that point on that was what I wanted to pursue.

Which artist are you most inspired by and why?
I am inspired by many artists. Although I am particularly inspired by philosophy especially that of Albert Camus.

When did you get the idea to cover your body in tattoos?
When I was five years old, I have always wanted to paint every inch of my skin, figuring out what with was the hard part, and other artists' work didn't feel right.

Should messages be taken more seriously when they're written on the body or rendered permanent through tattoos?
We live in such a physically orientated world, heck, Kim Kardashian posing half naked, J Biebs dying his hair blonde, or Renée Zellweger's face 'breaks the internet'. Despite your moral or political convictions your body is indisputably your own.

What message do you hope to send by doing this whole project?
Display ultimate individualism whilst at the same time giving myself relentlessly to the whims of the world.

Why do you want the names of strangers as opposed to those of who you love and who love you?
I want to create a piece with the world we live in right now - friends and strangers alike. No restrictions.

In what way do you hope to challenge societal notions of beauty?
To free the false notion of rationality when it comes to our exterior, your body is your own vessel with which you are not limited by its appearance. From Governments seeking to limit what we do with our bodies to gifting our bodies to lovers, and everything in between to careers and social relevance. Each and every interaction of our physical selves is a significant thread in the tapestry of existence.

Are there any tattoos you wouldn't accept?
I will not tattoo discrimination or hate.

Why does it have to be names and not images?
There can be small images.

Do you want your body to be seen as a single work of art or a canvas of multiple artworks?
A single work of artwork made up of a thousand smaller ones.

What would you say to haters who will inevitably criticise what you're doing and view it merely as a shameless PR stunt?
Each to their own, home slice.

How did you feel when Kickstarter cancelled your campaign?
I was upset by their unprofessionalism. I still haven't received contact from them explaining at least the process of suspension. They have the right not to host my campaign, but not to take money and hold it from pledgers.

What other projects are you working on at the moment?
I am constantly travelling and producing street art murals throughout the USA!



Text Tish Weinstock

Illma Gore
tattoo me