Illma Gore at Samuel Freeman Gallery

Illma Gore at Samuel Freeman Gallery


Illma Gore at Samuel Freeman Gallery

It became clear to us during our first night of gallery hopping in 2017, that this year can only be better than last if we choose not to fear what we do not understand. It was a night of coming together—artists, gallery lovers and strangers alike …We talked about sharing our blood, literally, for the sake of making a difference in the world, and choosing to love instead of fear…

The night began in total fear. My friend and I went into Walter Maciel and immediately saw a pack of gallery creepers. (Ladies, if you regularly go to openings, you know what and who I’m referencing). These guys have zero intentions to talk to you about art, in fact, they have their eyes on a different prize, and it starts with a “b” and ends with an “ooty.” We dodged them and the gallery, realizing only later to our disappointment that a group of strange men could actually have the power and control to prevent us from seeing art.

We found a safe haven at Samuel Freeman Gallery; deep inside, beyond a makeshift vinyl curtain, we entered what seemed to be a secret space. A group of 10 to 15 people stood around watching a fabulously tattooed, super badass, and irritatingly familiar looking chick perched on a platform. She sat cross-legged, splashing red paint on a 20-foot-tall mural.


Illma Gore, Steve Heiss, Monica Avila, Stephanie Sleiman

Steve and Monica, our new, heart-wrenchingly friendly friends gave us the inside scoop: The mural is an appropriation of a classical painting where several immigrants sit around Rosa Park’s flag, collectively sewing; it is not paint. It is blood; this is not a public event; the artist is Illma Gore.

Gore painted the famed “small-dick” Donald Trump painting, called Make America Great Again, which now hangs at a gallery in London, and is priced at over a million dollars. The image inspired the famous penis-less Trump statue, backed by INDECLINE, (who now backs Illma), an American Activist Collective focusing on social, ecological and economical injustices carried out by American and International governments, corporations and law enforcement agencies.

Since the peak of the controversy back in April, Gore has been through hell and back. She’s had threats from government officials, rape threats from Trump supporters, and even death threats. The worst though, is when she was she was walking through the streets of LA, and some random dude called her a bitch and punched her in the face.

Screen Shot 2017 01 12 at 11.25.26 AM e1484249183394 FACE OUR FEARS: COME TOGETHER

Very sad reality


Get your Trump stickers

The beautiful and sincere Gore explained to us that her work is not about shaming anyone or any concept. She genuinely cares about humanity, and seeks to love what she does not understand. We talked about how scary it is that the president of our country may actually wish harm upon someone, or how being targeted and attacked is a reality. What we know we all need now, in 2017, is to come together, try to love what we do not understand, and to transform our anger into art. If we seek to erase the “us” versus “them” mentality, perhaps we may see this illusion of separateness is actually quite weak. The controversy, the hate, and the fear, “it’s all just happening,” as someone said, but we don’t have to cling to it, we can choose to create our own reality, one where we consciously face our fears by trying to understand beliefs that may not be our own.

Photos by Annie Martens