Mushpa y Mensa, otherwise known as Cara and Emilia, have been all over the place, both physically with a move from Brooklyn, NY to Wilmington, NC, and vocationally. They haven’t always been artists selling handcrafted t-shirts and jewelry out of a truck. To put it in their own words, “We’re IT, we’re lawyers, we’re artists, we’re hustlers.”
The idea of selling art out of a truck is not originally theirs, in fact, art trucks are pretty popular where they hail from in New York. However, selling woman-made, eco-friendly, handmade art out of a woman-made, eco-friendly, handmade truck named Maya the Magical Mobile Art Machine is what makes these two even more unique. That’s right, they created this art truck, which was originally an airport truck — and, it’s solar-powered. Mushpa y Mensa keep their carbon footprint in mind when they travel around in their solar-powered art truck, selling handmade organic art, while also handing out “Meat Isn’t Green” pamplets. Their art (mainly composed of custom t-shirts, jewelry, and plushes) is all made with recycled and/or organic materials, and they make all of their art in their own home! Their art is inspired by many creative forces, whether it be their home state, their pets, or Portlandia. They even made me a custom pig plush to commemorate my all girls rock band, Swine.
They got the money to give the airport truck a makeover from a Kickstarter campaign in May of 2014. Before the truck, they carried all of their items by hand on the NYC subway system, from flea markets to art shows. And while these journeys were an interesting experience, the idea for a truck grew out of exasperation from having to “drag shit everywhere.”
Since then, Mushpa y Mensa have moved to smaller but good vibe-having Wilmington, NC, where they continue to sell their art out of Maya the Magical Mobile Art Machine in various fairs, art shows, and even breweries. Having a mobile art boutique is what made the move possible, and they hope to continue to do so and travel around the U.S. with Maya some day.
The importance of socially conscious and sustainable art and business is why Mushpa y Mensa do what they do. They see their woman-made, eco-friendly art as a way to help women and the environment. When you buy t-shirts that are locally made from individual artists, you know that you are not buying “enslaved fabric” and that their product did not come from a system that is notoriously bad to people and the environment. When you buy from local female artists like Mushpa y Mensa, you help women in a world where they are consistently paid less and looked over. Buying from and supporting local artists is in itself a radical act of defiance from a harmful, capitalistic complex and support for women and the world.
If you’re interested in buying from and keeping up with Mushpa y Mensa and their magical mobile art machine, you can follow them on their Instagram and Twitter (@mushpamensa) or on Shoptique, a website that showcases boutiques around the world.
[Images via Mushpa y Mensa]