illma gore was kidnapped by her uber driver because she painted trump naked
The controversial artist also addressed concerns of transphobia and body-shaming in an enlightening Reddit AMA.
They say good art should provoke, but Illma Gore's viral painting of Trump with a micro penis is prompting next-level backlash. Earlier this year Gore revealed in a disturbing Instagram post that she had been physically assaulted by one of the Republican presidential candidate's supporters outside her Los Angeles home. "This type of violence makes creatives feel like we live in a world where our individual creative input isn't safe," she wrote alongside a bruised selfie and a clarification that the guy had actually yelled "Trump 2016!" before punching her. Yesterday Gore revealed in a Reddit AMA that she was put in physical danger a second time, and while that experience didn't involve anyone loudly pledging allegiance to Trump before battering her, it might be even more terrifying. "Aside from getting attacked, what's the weirdest thing thats happened to you because of the painting?" asked one fan, to which the artist responded, "Being kidnapped in an UBER for 2 hours." Noting that this took place in the thick of press generating from the painting and the attack, she explained:
"I got into a Uber at my house (I do not own a car in the US... yet!) and the man immediately recognized me as I got in, told me how he thinks art is fleeting, to which I agreed. He told me he was a veteran, and during the ride got progressively and progressively angrier talking about inner city neighborhoods, people stealing jobs, the economy, how stupid everyone is." Fearing that she couldn't say anything without aggravating the situation, Gore stayed silent while he drove the wrong way to her destination, passed her home entirely after an hour, then refused to pull over when she asked him to and started driving toward the top of a canyon. She eventually escaped when the driver stopped at a stop sign.
In the same AMA, Gore also addressed concerns that using a small penis to humorous effect was transphobic or promoted body-shaming. In fact the body is based on one of her friends. "The body is actually of a friend and body model whom I adore," she replied when asked if body-shaming was her intent. "I created it because I find masculinity so interesting. So, I put Donald Trumps [sic] face on somebody I think is beautiful, masculine and has a small penis (something we as a society view as effeminate). it is absolutely terrifying how all of sudden the penis became like an excuse for the things Trump says and does."
It's upsetting that Gore's fears about artistic censorship and physical safety have been realized more than once. Thankfully, the incidents have not stopped her from taking her obsession with the human form even further. Her next project involves tattooing strangers' names onto her body, transforming what is generally a site of objectification into an unsellable work of art. "I so desired to create a piece that could never be owned by a gallery or recreated by another artist," she explained in the AMA. "3000 people from all over the world have told me their stories and inspirations (small pictures, words, marriage proposals) with no restriction to what they could have tattooed, and those inspirations made up a permanent tattoo across my entire body. To serve as a protest, and as a representation of the permanence and impermanence of human lives." You can read more about that project here.
Text Hannah Ongley
Image via Instagram