#AFinBK Merchant Spotlight: Mutant Cactus

Our friends and #AFinBK frequent-flyers Jared from Urban Cactus and Al of Mutant Land Art recently teamed up, forming merchant supergroup Mutant Cactus. It's a collaboration made in heaven - we had to ask them how their brainchild came about. Find out what they had to say below! 

Mutant Cactus

Tell us about yourselves!

J : I do a lot of different things. I went to an art school where I was introduced to a lot of different mediums… and Urban Cactus, which is my personal brand, and here now in this collaboration Mutant Cactus I try to bring all of those elements to the table. I like to give everything a rustic, quirky, handmade feeling.

A : My brand is Mutant Land and it’s kind of scary cute, whimsical, wonky, and weird; like dead rockstars and combination creatures that don’t exist in real life. 

When did you two start selling at Artists & Fleas?

J : It’s been about three months now… I’ve always come here over the years. I’ve probably known about it for about five years now. I happen to know Stephanie through friends and when I decided to start selling I hit her up and here I am!

A : Originally I sold through Artists & Fleas during holiday season probably about 10 years ago. I came back in the Springtime this year.

How did the idea for Mutant Cactus, your collaborative brand, come about?

J : I met Al at one of the events maybe a month and a half ago and we became friendly during some downtime and we started talking and admiring each other’s stuff and thought it would be cool. Initially it started off as a “hey, can you make me a cactus pillow and I’ll make you something?” and then one day she messaged me about sharing a table as a cactus collective.

A : We were set up by each other and we liked each other work and he liked my painting style and I liked his sculptural, goofy style and we were like how can we make this work together? In the future we’re going to do a collaborative sculpture piece, Another thing in the works is to take a larger terrarium and place sculptures that we make within it - kind of like an alien landscape vibe…

Mutant Cactus

Do you see this collaboration evolving and lasting long term?

J : Yeah! We’ve just begun and we’ve made about five pieces that are working pretty well. Our common theme is repurposed and recycled materials - we find old bottles and boots - I literally will be walking down the street and have tunnel vision for objects that could be plant vessels. So if i find a boot I’ll pick it up and ask Al to paint something crazy, she paints it and gives it back and I’ll figure out what plant to put in it. It’s a natural born collaboration.

What have you learned from selling at Artists & Fleas and collaborating with each other?

J : Interacting with people who are interested in buying, when to play something up and when to not talk. I’m still learning that and about how people want to be treated. It’s a delicate balance between reading someone’s body language and playing it by ear. 

A: It’s nice to have buddy to bounce ideas off of... in the creative process it’s easy to get each other psyched about the ideas that we have.