Llama Yama Designs
Vending with Arts Market since the summer of 2018, Llama Yama Designs is a Toronto family-owned business that sells screen-printed shirts, wood panels and masks.
Llama Yama’s soft-touch cotton and bamboo t-shirts feel amazing in both summer and winter. Many of their designs are inspired by the ecology of Toronto and speak to a love of its endlessly diverse communities. Everything is printed on Toronto-made items using non-toxic inks, with a view to reducing environmental impact as much as possible.
I had the opportunity to engage in a Q&A session with Bob, Asako, and Lucca, and I hope you enjoy getting to know a little more about them, as I did!
What started you on your creative journeys?
Bob: I started ‘printing’ on t-shirts 30 years ago either painting shirts or using wood carved blocks to make an image. I had inspiration from both my father, who was a carver and my mother, who is a painter. As I learned different techniques for printing, I found screen-printing. My inspiration comes from everyday interests that I have – our city, nature, ecology, science, traditions, sustainable transportation, nature and robots.
Asako: I came to Canada 11 years from Japan. In Japan, I worked in Osaka in the fashion industry. My inspiration comes from both simplicity and minimalism.
Lucca: My designs come from things that I see around me.
What is the meaning of your company name “Llama Yama”?
Llama Yama is a play on words. Llama in Spanish can mean both the animal (a llama) and flame (as in G. Lorca’s ‘Soneto Gongorino‘ Llama lenta de amor do estoy perando. ‘the slow flames of love where I am staying”). The word Llama is pronounced Yama. ‘Yama’ is the Japanese word for mountain.
Do you have any other creative interests or other passions, apart from screen printing?
Our interests, outside of screen printing, include travelling, learning languages, minimalism, reducing our ecological footprint, canoeing, canoe tripping, camping, cross-country skiing (Lucca prefers downhill), and hiking and exploring communities and the natural environment.
Any advice for budding artists learning screen printing?
For new screen printers, we suggest trial and error as a way to find what works best. There is no right or wrong. If you are in Toronto, The TDSB offers incredible programs for learning different ways to print.
We hope that you enjoyed virtually meeting our vendors Bob, Asako, and Lucca! You can find their unique screen printed designs at both Arts Market locations – 790 Queen St. East and 2978 Dundas St. West locations, or online via twitter, instagram, facebook, and at www.llamayamadesigns.ca.