She’s been on bathroom stall doors throughout the whole of Orange County. She has made appearances on drinking fountains and public fountains, on walls and windows. The bugged-out eyes, the buck teeth, that wondrous overbite all emblazoned in vibrant Day-Glo glory has as of late been showing up on any number of public surfaces across the OC. She is Dolly the Llama and she is both pith and figurehead of a new artistic campaign founded by recent OC transplant Reva Litwack.
A graphic artist by trade, Reva has followed her artistic sensibilities around the globe. From running art design for a New Zealand surfing magazine to photographing the grungy underbelly of Europe to practicing her street work across South and Central America she has witnessed the universality of the creative drive first hand. So when she relocated to Orange County it didn’t take much for her to see that there was something a bit off about the local drive, an observation which led her to sow the seeds of what would become Dolly.
“I was amazed by how much time and money people were spending on their personal appearance,” she says about her adopted home. “They obsessed over it so much that they didn’t even have fun anymore”. In focusing on the relationship between personal creativity and personal fulfillment, Dolly the Llama (yes, pun fully intended) was created in direct response to that obsession. Dolly, Reva maintains, is about finding fun within oneself, and how a person’s innate creativity is one of the best vehicles to tap into that enjoyment. “Everyone has their own creative outlet whether it be in music, sports, painting, etc., and the ability to find which of those outlets is most suitable to their own particular creative leanings.”
Finding this suitability under the Dolly banner got its start when Reva first devised the Dolly logo and had a few stickers printed up with its original design. “I started sticking Dolly up around bathrooms in Orange County as a message to people to stop stressing out about what they look like and to just have fun”. Soon after the stickers went up a public performance in which Reva wandered the OC streets wearing nothing but a bikini and a large paper mache Dolly head got more folks talking. As the local buzz about her grew Dolly soon became her own brand about town, and Reva watched as her creation became a template for others to spontaneous come up with their own unique Dollys. A number of new Dolly-themed art pieces were released by Reva and a line of hand-crafted Dolly merchandise soon followed.
Through all the Dolly artwork and merchandise Reva is careful to keep focus on the essential Dolly message. “Dolly is all about encouraging people to be themselves and to enjoy life without superficial concerns like money and materials. She is a reminder to stop worrying about what people think of you and just learn to love yourself and have fun”. And it is that fun that Reva sees as the driving force behind the future goals of the movement. “My immediate goal,” she says, “is to spread Dolly’s message of fun and fulfillment to as many people as possible”. She is looking to accomplish this by organizing events which will both develop and cultivate that fulfillment. Projects currently on the table include individualized workshops on meditation art, yoga and music, and larger scale activities such as a beach clean-up, a 5K race, and even a classic SoCal volleyball tournament.
Reva is aware that this altruistic angle of hers, along with the general loving and carefree spirit with which she carries herself has many people thinking of her as the embodiment of Dolly if not truly Dolly herself. She relishes that assumption, and on the numerous times when asked if she is Dolly she admits, “I am. But so are you. Deep down we are all basically the same, we are all Dolly.”
With that inclusivity serving as the ultimate core of the Dolly movement, Reva has her sights set on nothing short of a feel-good group hug of universal proportions. “My ultimate goal for Dolly is to build a fun brand that helps bring people together. It starts within oneself and finding a peace within oneself and once that has been done that happiness has a way of spreading to others. Above all Dolly, through the creativity within us all, aims to expedite that process. Spread the Dolly!”