Illma Gore caused quite a controversy during the presidential campaign last year with her illustration depicting a nude Donald Trump. This time she's teamed up with an artist collective to create a mural using human blood.
The Los Angeles-based artist
was approached shortly after the election by Indecline, the artist collective that placed statues of a nude Trump in five cities around the United States.
The resulting mural is called "Rise Up Thy Young Blood," a paraphrase from Shakespeare's King Richard -- a call to action.
About 50 people donated blood. None of them was told what the project would look like. Gore says most of the donors are artists and friends and wanted to remain anonymous.
Gore also used her own blood.
"Blood is similar to watercolors. It smells a little weird. It's very metallic like iron."
A unifying message
Gore says the mural is meant to show a sense of solidarity for people who feel divided post-election and as Trump enters the White House.
"I would say it's anti-racism, anti-divisiveness, it's anti-bigotry, it's anti-not listening people, except for coming together and saying we are here and we will do anything."
Gore was on a week-long marathon to finish the 10-foot by 15-foot mural, which was inspired by Henry Mosler's 19th-century painting, "The Birth of the Flag." He depicts Betsy Ross and her seamstresses sewing the first Stars and Stripes. Mosler, who was Jewish, immigrated to the US from Poland with his family when he was 8.
Henry Mosler's "The Birth of the Flag." Credit: Lambert/Getty Images
Gore, with an American mother and an Australian father wanted her version to reflect the melting pot of modern America. The pastiche includes a white man in a "Make America Great Again" cap beside a black businessman, next to a police officer who is working beside a millennial -- and a Latina woman is holding the flag next to a Muslim couple with a baby.
'You forget you have blood in your hands'
None of the blood was tested, and Gore wore no protection while working.
"If I'm asking people to give blood, I'm not then going to stigmatize it and put gloves on," she said.
She achieved the subtle shading by adding layer over layer, with some of the wet blood dripping down the paper.
"You would think you would be grossed out," Gore said. "It's like a good book or seeing a painting that you love, all of the sudden you completely forget you have blood in your hands."
The finished piece was covered with varnish and displayed for a single day at the Samuel Freeman Gallery in Los Angeles. An Indecline spokesperson said the donors were thrilled with the mural.
"The beauty of artwork is it reflects what's ever thought you have and I think even if we don't agree with everything. I think that's beautiful," Gore said.
So far, she has no plans to sell the painting.
"For me, art is the way I speak, some people protest, some people sing. I make art."