Check out the full shop at: okllama.com
BC: Who’s behind ok llama? What are some of the most common ways people have slaughtered the pronunciation of your name?
OK: Ok Llama is just me, with the help of a small army of experts who make me look good: Mandate Press handles all my letterpress, Industry Screen Print now does all my silkscreen products, and Agave Print makes the latest immaculate reproductions of my oil paintings on watercolor paper. Also very important, my friend Micah Nolte helps out whenever elaborate code wrangling is needed.
The most popular ways to say my name incorrectly are Sha-maya, Shay-ama, Shame-a, Shaw-ma, Shyma, Charmin and the name which I secretly fear the most, Shaman. I don’t really blame anyone for getting it wrong, the trick is to ignore the silent Y and remember that it rhymes with, yes, llama.
BC: What is one of the earliest memories you can think of where you knew art in some form or another was gonna be your thing?
OK: At 4 years old I told my parents I wanted to do nothing when I grew up. Not being independently wealthy ruled out the possibility of that dream. Moving on to grade school, I was horrifically bad at basketball, and mediocre at math, which made me realize that I should probably stick to drawing.
BC: Beyond elegant dinosaurs, what inspires your work?
OK: I have a graphic design background so illustration, comic book art, illustrated movie posters and design from past eras influence my work. Often times an idea will come from a random conversation with a friend and the mental picture it gives me, old photographs and memories, or just from a situation I’ve made up in my head using a juxtaposition of things that I’ve read about.
BC: Can you talk about your experience prepping an illustration to be letterpressed and a little about that process?
OK: The main thing I try to achieve when preparing a design for letterpress is an emphasis on line quality, which becomes more important than color. I use a Wacom display or tablet to create the files because I like the balance of sharp vector lines and pressure sensitive variation of line width. Being a “problem solver” I like the challenge of using only one or 2 colors while drawing attention to the impression left on the paper and overprints.
BC: How has your experience been customizing & using Big Cartel?
OK: I’ve tried various e-commerce Wordpress plugins for my store that were incredibly time consuming and buggy, which led to me trying out Big Cartel. I’ve used it for a few months now and the whole experience is one giant sigh of relief. The dashboard is beautifully designed and intuitive, as well as the fact that the product is constantly improving in subtle ways before you even get a chance to wish for something more.