Floats & Falls Painting For Oz Arts Center Nashville

Nashville artist fine art print oil painting of featherFloats & Falls | 20×20, oil on canvas | Artist: K. Llamas


ORDER the 20 x 2o” Watercolor Print Here

Floats & Falls was a piece created by fine artist, Kristin Llamas for the EMBODIMENT Exhibition curated by Stephanie Pruitt & Oz Arts Center in Nashville. The original painting was inspired by Pruitt’s following poem:

Close Reading

Ask questions both obvious and obscure.

Grow to appreciate the shadow and shine,

how most simmered pots of good vs. evil are an

unseasoned soup.

Notice what is there and not. Notice patterns.

Notice what you notice.

Embrace the barreling grasp of fear that can propel,

and the freedom of a blank page that can paralyze.

Know that scissoring backwards from the


can’t pinky promise an aha, but proves you’ve


the floats and falls & …ever after,

remembering The End is an invitation to begin.

by Stephanie Pruitt


em·bod·i·ment: Poetry Through the Five Senses

curated by Stephanie Pruitt

/im-ˈbä-di-məәnt/ /əәmˈbädiməәnt/


1. a tangible or visible form of an idea, quality, or feeling. 2. a fully infused representation. 3. an experience

of transmission or possession of particular traits made concrete. 4. incarnation.

em·bod·i·ment considers the generative nature of art; how one creative expression often leads to a web of


Literary and social practice artist, Stephanie Pruitt, collaborates with esteemed, Nashville innovators

to transform a 10,000 square foot space into a multi-sensory tour of the inside of a poem. Literature moves

from the two dimensional page and becomes an interactive experience for the audience to smell, hear, see,

touch, and taste. To curate em·bod·i·ment, Pruitt distributed a single, original poem to a chef, an

aromatherapist, an architect, musicians, and more than twenty different makers to interpret through their

respective disciplines. Wanting to explore synesthesia and the line between translation and transformation,

Oz Nashville and Stephanie Pruitt invite you to read a poem through your senses.


I’m just a girl… the Equal Rights Amendment was Never Ratified?

equality birdcage painting mental illness womens rights flower

20% of print sales from Un-Equivalent  are gifted to the Alice Paul Institute

Am I constitutionally a lesser human?

ALTHOUGH “my kind” physically grow the human race inside our bodies, we (in America) constitutionally have less rights than the sons we give birth to. As with any unsettling news, I handle this realization in my own (self-prescribed) 3 stages of grief… first = shock, second = anger, third = action.

1. Shock: How did I not know this until now?

I know we fight for equal pay and equal say and equal education, but how did I NOT know that the Equal Rights Amendment was never ratified? Blame it on public education (just kidding…I went to a great public school) or my own complete naivety (not kidding, I still look for gold at the end of rainbows), but I am seriously ashamed that at 34 years old, I just learned last night that every mother, daughter, aunt, grandmother, sister…is constitutionally less equal than their male counterpart.

2. Anger: Are you flipping kidding me?

How is this still a thing? (That is a rhetorical question since I now know)

In short, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) passed the Senate and the House, and on March 22, 1972, was sent to the states for ratification. BUT only 35 out of the 38 states needed ratified it before the 7yr deadline…therefore it was never adapted into the constitution. 

The first instinct is to be upset with all men…but here’s the truth, a lot of the anti-ERA was headed up by conservative women opponents such as Phyllis Schlafly – afraid that…. “the ERA would deny woman’s right to be supported by her husband, privacy rights would be overturned, women would be sent into combat, and abortion rights and homosexual marriages would be upheld.”

Can we just stop and digest this all for a moment? First – every one of those “fears”  are idiotic, second – they have all happened, YET women still do not have constitutional equality! Pay attention!!

I grew three little girls in my stomach who are living in a country where they are not equally protected as men under their own constitution…

despite any fault of their own…

3. My Response: An “ERA Sales Tax”

I propose an “ERA sales tax” to be initiated by all female run organizations. Not a tax on men, because they aren’t all bad…in fact, it was a man who brought this to my attention!

But to the 15 states that did not ratify the Equal Rights Amendment:

  1. Alabama
  2. Arizona
  3. Arkansas
  4. Florida
  5. Georgia
  6. Illinois
  7. Louisiana
  8. Mississippi
  9. Missouri
  10. Nevada – Nevada gets a pass because they ratified the ERA in 2017 (albeit 35 yrs late)
  11. North Carolina
  12. Oklahoma
  13. South Carolina
  14. Utah
  15. Virginia

To these 14 states, your 20% “tax” will be donated to the Alice Paul Institute to provide women with

Education. Empowerment. Equality.

(Consider this a mandatory donation to a responsible cause – until your state changes its ways! So call your representatives!)

Even though “I’m just a girl,” thank you so much for letting me have a visual voice and supporting my work… 

For some more info on the ERA, check out the FAQ’s

TEDx Nashville: Artist Alfonso & Kristin Llamas

ted talk kristin llamas alfonso llamas art nashville artistTEDx Salon Nashville

AK Llamas: Please don’t stop Touching The Artwork

Visual and Social Practice Artists A&K Llamas discuss the changing epoch of earth and art. Their series of art installations called the Anthropocene encourage community engagement and collaboration. Please don’t STOP touching the artwork.




“To develop a complete mind:
Study the science of art;
Study the art of science.
Learn how to see.
Realize that everything
connects to everything else.”

Did you know we are on the verge of a new epoch? Not just a new epoch in art making, but in the actual history of the earth?

The professional organization in charge of defining the earth’s time scale is the I U G S. The International Union of Geological Sciences. Write that down because there will be a quiz later. Currently in 2014, the IUGS considers us in the Epoch called the Holocene. The Holocene began 11,700 years ago after the last major ice age. But some experts are claiming we have entered a new Epoch. One they refer to as The Anthropocene. Anthropo for man and cene for new. They call for this new term to reflect the impact that man has had on the earth. From man caused extinctions of plant and animal life to pollution and geological changes we’ve made in the earth. In 2016 scholars will decide whether or not to officially declare the Holocene over and that the Anthropocene has begun.

As artists this possibility struck us. Being on the verge of a new Epoch where man is touching the earth in profound ways. This idea triggered a new series of work for us, a new series we call the Anthropocene.

The series addresses a geological epoch, how man has touched the earth, by incorporating themes of man made beautification. We use man made materials to imitate nature. But more importantly, the series incorporates a new epoch in art, one in which the community is touching artwork like never before. It’s become a realization of just how the individuals in the community make their impact on us as artists. More than ever artists are stepping out of the studio and inviting the community into the art making process. From community installations to social practice pieces. We were just at the opening of a social practice show and the artist, Moira Williams, invited the community to come and collect wild yeast, to make bread in an adobe oven shaped like the Parthenon. The community would then sit down together and break bread. So more and more the community becomes not only viewers of the work, but also collaborators in the work.

But Why? Why is art headed in this direction? What’s the value in collaborating with the community?

When we touch the artwork, and interact with it then we


1. Challenge

2. Inspire

3. Value community


Let’s break down collaboration. Collaboration for artists is fuel for the burning fire. It ignites and drives and pushes artists. K and I started collaborating in 2002 and it all began with a spark.

At the time I was playing in a band and I suggested that we needed to get rid of our lead singer. The lead singer was K’s sister. (So from that alone you can imagine what our family get togethers are like.)

So, we let her sister go from the band and she goes off heart broken. 30 minutes later this beautiful girl walks into our practice space and starts telling us that we just made a big mistake and got rid of the most talented person in the band. She’s say you guys will go no where! I had never seen such passion, and well, because I like to live dangerously… I said who is she, and what’s her number?

Just like I was drawn to that passion it’s what fuels our collaboration. We forge our work out of heat and negotiation and refining… and let’s be honest, sometimes yelling. But this forms and hones it down into something neither of us would be able to create on our own.

Now, expand that same idea about collaboration to include an entire community…. and all those interactions ignite a creative combustion. Small sparks and embers that we as artists like to collect and gather and use to make that piece that’s bigger than all of us. That big idea that reflects the collective sum of us all. Where we see the individuals, we can also see ourselves.

So as collaboration fuels artists. The community and our society also inspires artists.

In 2005 we discovered for the first time how much the community really inspired us.
We developed a conceptual art project where we would travel to all 50 states to physically and symbolically connect America through art. We quit our jobs, sold everything we owned, and retrofitted our car so we could live and work out of it. We spent 13 months on the road, and miraculously no months in jail.

K painted a piece for each state and we left that piece in neighboring state, at an art gallery, art center or museum. As we traveled and created work from our experiences it was the community that gave us the most profound input. It was the community that continued to touch the artwork and nudge it in new directions. We came across tourist traps and man made monuments, but it was a conversations like the one we had with a local barista in Cookeville that lead us the most spectacular waterfall and cave we had ever seen in our lives. No gift shops. No paved paths. No signs. Just a crudely drawn map and directions that read “you’ll see signs on mailboxes, I think Mennonites live there, but keep going past there a ways till you come to a rock with paint on it. If you get to the trees with paint on them, you’ve gone too far.”

That work was called The Nomadic Project, and while it was our very first collaboration with the community, we are still in touch with many of the people that we met along the way. Fifty states in 13 months gets a little blurry after a while but the interactions are still so vivid. I may not be able to pinpoint the exact location of the snow covered mountain we slid down in West Virginia, but I vividly remember helping the couple ahead of us put chains on their tires and get their car back on the road. I remember the elderly man in overalls and his dog Goldie. He talked to us about his life, family and the stigma at the rotary club because he’s a city boy in a country town. He chatted with us until the sun set. Those interactions shaped that journey and in the end were just as monumental as the final artwork. Those people and their stories were touching the artwork.

When the completed exhibit travels with all 50 pieces, viewers also connect with the artwork, especially with the paintings that represents states they live in and visit. But they also want to know why certain elements are included in the paintings. They become interested in places they had never been. The community interacts with the art…. the art that was inspired by the community.

Because we are touching the artwork in these ways, we are interacting with it and each other in an important way. This is so important because this interaction has actually changed the role of the viewer. We are no longer just an audience to watch, speculate, and critique. We are invited to partake, and create alongside the artist and work.

This makes for a much deeper connection with art. Think for a moment about how much media we encounter on a minute by minute basis, because of this, connection is so exponentially valuable to the relevance of art in our changing society.

Why? Because art on the pages of books and walls of museums can’t possibly keep up with the mass media and need for immediate gratification. People aren’t in awe by a meticulously captured photograph because instagram filters make for really interesting photos all day long! Art as just another image, or film, or song has more competition than ever before. We may pause for a moment to look but rarely linger.

The art critic and historian James Elkins compiled surveys and wrote in 2011 that “an average viewer goes up to a painting, looks at it for less than two seconds, reads the wall text for another 10 seconds, glances at the painting to verify something in the text, and moves on. Another survey concluded people looked for a median time of 17 seconds. And at The Louvre, they found that people looked at the Mona Lisa an average of 15 seconds.”

So for the average person this idea of art being an interaction means that we relate to artwork differently than any other image or post we are bombarded with daily. And when we interact, we don’t just become part of art, we become part of another community. Why is this? connection and sense of community more critical than ever right now? Because we as a society are so entirely overwhelmed by the flashing of images and rattling of sounds that we NEED experiences to leave impressions. We don’t just need to see the art, but to touch it.

Because when we touch the artwork, we don’t just get a finished piece.

We gain  interaction, dialogue, community.

And they wouldn’t necessarily remember the Nashville Selfie installation
except for the fact that they will remember BEING tough, bold, brave…

This installation was the most recent action in our Anthropocene series. It was called NashvilleSelfie. We used social media and crowdsourced 100 Nashvillians to submit a selfie, along with an adjective describing themselves to represent the collective selfie of the community. We then printed the selfies on t-shirts, painted the adjectives on them and strung them the entire length of Deaderick Street on 500 feet of clothesline.

Now with our last two large scale installations the community not only played a crucial role in the art making process, but also in the funding for the project. When you have the community collaborate with you… things get done. The past two installations were billed as the largest 3D street art installations ever in Nashville. Where organizations were unwilling or unable to assist with these projects, it was because of individuals in the community that our first project ended up 345%. The next, we raised the goal and were still almost 200% funded. What this says is that we have a community that wants to collaborate as well as be sure to make things happen. It is one thing for someone to claim that they want something but when they are financially backing something, you know they are truly hungry for it. It’s a reflection of what they want.

Why did we incorporate selfies? From the first time man looked down at a still body of water and saw his own reflection, with a sense of self awareness washing over him, to today as we hold our phone away at arms length to take a picture of ourselves. We are saying we exist. We are the reflection in the artwork. We are the fuel. We are the inspiration. We are connected.

Alfonso and I attended a friend’s party last month and when we were introduced as artists to one of the guests, she asked what type of work we create. Naturally, we mentioned the paintings and installations and specifically the #NashvilleSelfie project because we had just completed it.

The women dropped her jaw and said “that was you?” She then went on to explain that she participated as a way to liberate herself from the stigma of vanity that she was raised with. That submitting her selfie was empowering and a way to explore her feelings about humility and open herself up to the world. How she felt connected to the community that joined her on that 500 foot clothesline.

Art today is not stagnant and still. It is an interaction, a reflection, a conversation. It takes a village to create it and it creates a community through interaction with it. We see many fingerprints are all over artists work. Directly and indirectly. Before, during and after it’s creation.

Without this collaboration, artists are just creating in a vacuum.

And that’s how people tend to think of artists. On their own. Loners, tortured souls, and to some degree this can be very true. It takes a lot for us as visual people to get up here and communicate verbally. That’s what the artist strives for in their work. To communicate. To speak to someone. In the end, the art is not just about the artists and a completed piece. It’s about US. Without the community and viewers, the artist IS alone. Without the community, without the artists experiences and surroundings… there is no inspiration. Without you there is no commentary. There is no muse. There is no community.

So please don’t stop touching the artwork.



Hush Little Baby – It’s okay to Cry


Hush, 12×18″ acrylic on paper

“Hush, little baby, don’t say a word.
Mama’s gonna buy you a mockingbird
And if that mockingbird won’t sing,
Mama’s gonna buy you a diamond ring.”

Sometimes we have days, weeks… even years that are exhausting and truly painful. From infancy, until the day we die… there are times that we all just need to cry. No amount of money, religion, or education can prevent the pain of heartache, sadness, or grief. We are all equally vulnerable.

One night, I was crying alone in the darkness –  a grown woman, without children of my own yet – and I caught myself running the lines of a lullaby through my mind.

“hush little baby, don’t say a word…mama’s gonna buy you a mockingbird…”

That was the night I realized that any time I was stressed or shaken, I subconsciously comforted myself with a familiar lullaby my mother used to sing to me.

And in sadness and in comfort,
the Lullaby Series was born.

I painted the work above, titled “Hush.” Then, for years I have gone on to paint and exhibit pieces that are inspired by lullabies. This collection began taking on even more significance to me as I started having children of my own.


PS- You all know that I like to use art to communicate and give back…after all, there is no heART without Art 😉 So when you order from the Lullaby Series 15% of every sale is donated to Save the Children to help with the pain in Syria, with hope that children everywhere are able to find comfort.

“Save the Children is on the ground in Syria and in refugee communities throughout the region, providing children and their families with warm clothes, shelters, protection, clean water and emergency care.”

At various points in our lives, we all find ourselves alone in sadness. Sometimes we are struggling with a grief or fear that no one, not even ourselves can understand. My hope for myself, children and everyone on this planet with us, is that at those times… when nothing else seems to hold us through all our pain and fear, we can find comfort in solitude…even if it is just in the words of a lullaby.

Love and peace to all who are hurting,


View the Lullaby Series


Contemporary Art That Makes a Statement: What is Honor?

STEP #1:

Get crown from Burger King and take reference photos…in a Publix bathroom.

Contemporary Art That Makes a Statement: What is Honor? original painting of toilet and burger king crown

What is Honor original painting by K Llamas

STEP #2:

Paint…and tape…and paint…and tape.

Contemporary Art by Kristin Llamas painting What is Honor? with toilet and burger king crown

What is Honor? Original painting by Kristin Llamas

Contemporary Art by Kristin Llamas titled What is Honor? painting of toilet and burger king crown

What is Honor? by Kristin Llamas

STEP# 3 : Explain to everyone why you would paint a giant toilet…

I’ve never considered myself funny… I’m more the sentimental who married a jokester. But every now and then a little humor will find its way into my work as I’m doing what I always do… addressing social issues. So the idea behind the toilet piece is actually quite simple and playful:

At the end of the day, we all sit on the same throne.

I posed the question “What is Honor?” during a Socratic Dialogue, and this piece was the result. Because, regardless of your title, wealth, skin color, or religion, we are all humbled by our own humanity.

So next time you start to think you are a little bit better, smarter, cooler, or more special than your neighbor… think of your throne and think again.