Naming The Alpaca / Llama


One evening, as I was browsing through Instagram searching for inspiration and motivation via Alpaca images, I landed on Kristian Llamas illustration of this adorably cute, goofy alpaca (seen below). It was love at first sight! At that very moment, I decided to have a closer look at her these series of alpaca/llamas illustrations!!
Each alpacas and llamas I came across via her Instagram page were different, unique and beautifully done. I became curious to know what that is? The original plan was to create a blog about her work, but as the conversation continued and I mentioned to her that I was working a Alpaca Crochet Collection. She gave me the opportunity to select a Alpaca Illustration out of 100s different kind of Alpacas/Llamas to represent the Collection itself. I have to admit, I am SO grateful and honored to be using one of her illustrations to represent this collection. Thank You !!!
As promised, I told her I was going to do a blog about her work. Even if she’s been very busy these days. She was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions in regards to the work she does. Without further ado, here is her response;
- What inspired you to start drawing Llamas/Alpaca?
With my art exhibits, I create work that is centered around unity and community engagement. For a gallery show I was doing, I decided that I wanted to find a way to illustrate something that everyone in the world has in common so thought "What is the one thing everyone has, everyone wants to know, and now one can take away?" The answer is a name! But how many of us get to choose our name? Names are really interesting to me. They are a label that we are given for life, but most of us really have no say in what we are named. How much of us actually identify with that label? Do we make the name, or does the name make us?
 
So when I asked people to submit their name to me, I played upon my own last name "Llamas" (pronounced as "ya-mus") and asked "¿Como te llamas?" (what is your name). To make the project fun, I told people that if they share their naming story with me, I'd create a llama illustration with their name. Llamas symbolize community, unity, loyalty and hard work, so I feel like their representation is very uniting. 
On a side note, I initially planned to create 25 llamas for this one exhibit, but the project took off and I've now completed over 260 illustrations!

- Which llama/alpaca you’ve illustrated that you love most, and why?
 It's really hard for me to pick my absolute favorite llama, however I can say that the ones I love the most are those with the most personality. So don't be offended if the llama with your name has crazy hair or teeth or a funny grin because those are the most fun for me to create! And of course, these aren't meant to be self portraits, they are llamas! :)

- What is your process; where does these alpaca/llamas comes from, what medium do you use?
First of all, I stalk and follow a TON of llama/alpaca farms on instagram for references! Every now and again, I'll get to visit these farms in person and photograph the llamas, however that is rare. I would love to have the budget to do more personal scouting someday!
 
The part that takes the longest is figuring out the "look" of a specific name. Certain names just feel a certain way. For instance, when I created the Penny, I felt like she needed to be fun and silly. Yet when I created the Steve, he felt more strong and proud. I usually don't even meet the people who submit their name, but sometimes their story helps! 
 
Once I figure out the "look" of a name, I either paint the llama large on canvas or do small drawings. I send the small drawings off immediately to be made into art prints and products that I sell to fund the project. The large canvases go into gallery shows and are sold as both prints and originals.

- How long have you been illustrating these llamas/Alpacas 
I started the "Llamas Art Show" project in 2016, and continue to create about 10 llamas/alpacas each month based on names submitted to me.
When I was around 9 yrs old, I would sit for hours creating pencil drawings of horses. I always loved animals. At about the time in my childhood, I also declared to my mom that I wanted to be a "mom (like her), a starving artist (because I thought that's what all real artists were) and a farmer." 
In a way, I feel like I am going back to my roots with this series!
- Where else can we see your work?
The Llamas Art Show is only one of many art series that I work on. It was meant to be a side project so that took me by surprise when it became popular! 
 
My other work is large scale paintings that can be seen at KLlamas.com and in gallery shows around the United States and Europe. My work is represented by Park City Fine Art, UT and they always have paintings on display, including some of the large llama canvases!
- Are there any special events, projects your working on you’d like to promote?
There are always so many fun things going on with the llamas, so the best way to keep up to those is to be on my email list at LlamasArt.com and follow me on instagram and facebook (@LlamasArtShow)! 
 
This weekend I am bringing some of the llama art, mugs and pillows to a festival, and in NovemberI have a gallery exhibit scheduled in downtown Nashville. I haven't announced it yet, but city is actually wrapping a 40' bus in my llama art to drive around the city for the next few months, so that is a really fun project that is in the works! 
 
I'm also working on a new book of llama art that will come out in the Spring, so there is a lot of exciting events to look out for!
 
Most importantly, I want people to know that this project is interactive, so anyone can search and submit names at LlamasArt.com