I was having a drink late one night at Hilltop Tavern with my friend Jordan Humbert. Jordan is the lead singer for local country music group The Winger Brothers and an all around chill dude. When I asked him what he did for a living he mentioned painting llamas, among other things. In fact, he had (and still has) a llama right there at Hilltop.
You may see one of Jordan’s over 50 llamas around town, but you can definitely see 3 of them at Craft Gallery starting Friday, August 3rd and ending August 31st. Of course when you find out your friend is partially surviving on paintings, that’s cool. But when you find out those paintings are exclusively of llamas, you have to find out why. So I asked him some questions and made sure I clued you guys in on it.
Read my conversation with Jordan about his llamas below and make sure to see them in real life this month at Craft Gallery. And if your going to Hilltop for a drink, please invite me.
Never Nervous: How did you get started painting llamas?
Jordan Humbert: A few years ago I stretched four 4×4 canvases and decided I was going to paint. I hadn’t really painted much since graduating form UofL’s art program like a decade before that. I was playing music, doing design work and photography, but not painting. Llamas were already popping up in concert flyers and design work I was doing so I decided that would just be the subject matter for these 4 paintings.
Those 4 pieces turned into a show where I got good feedback, actually sold art, and determined I’m a better painter than whatever else I was doing so I dove right in. So for a few years its been just llamas as the subject but the paintings have varied drastically in material and overall feel depending on where my heads at.
NN:Where can we find your llamas?
JH: August at Craft Gallery. I’ll have a few new pieces on display and they’ll be their throughout the Month. Opening reception is August 3rd. These are Llamas #49, #50, and #51 so kind of a milestone I suppose.
NN: What is your Llama painting process like? Do you have a preferred medium?
JH: Well, it’s really changed drastically over the last few years. Early on I was just squeezing globs of oil right from the tube and using my hands and those certainly had a good energy to them. However, It was kind of expensive and wasteful. Lately its far more sober and realized and usually I have a person in mind for a painting, or its a commission, or I have a location to hang it before I start.
Thats all new, so it kind of changes things. Currently I like to get everything down, and then just before I wrap up a painting, I try and destroy it just a reasonable amount. Lately its mostly ink, graphite, and watercolor. Oils great but its nice coming back the next day and everything set. Oils just too much of a waiting game. Oh and lots of hair spray. If you’re doing graphite and watercolor hair sprays keeps everything where you want it.
NN: How much experience do you have with real life Llamas?
JH: Surprisingly very, very little. I’ve seen a few.
NN: Do you have a favorite llama/llama painting?
NN: What does the Llama represent to you beyond an odd looking animal?
JH: I just like that I don’t have to wast time thinking about what to paint. I decided on LLamas for some reason, but I don’t think theres anything super complex to ponder really. No, its not my spirit animal. Its not that important. Since there is so much in the marks and the emotion and the material, the subject matter can be whatever. That said Llamas have been becoming a thing lately and that certainly hasn’t hurt business. Its like the new owl or something.