Q&A with our Austin Artist Jen Mussari | Tuft & Needle

In celebration of our Austin store finally opening their doors, we wanted to highlight one of our favorite features of the location. Jen Mussari, a commercial artist who has worked for clients like Target, Dolce & Gabbana, and Airbnb (just to name a few!) created a custom piece for one of our walls to greet our customers. 

We asked her a few questions about her creative process, who inspired her to get her start, and how she wanted to honor Texas in our South Congress location. 

TN: How did you get your start in commercial art? What are some of the pieces you're most proud of to date?

JM: I didn't realize that a career in Commercial Arts was even an option until I discovered there were people like House Industries and Louise Fili making a living while creating incredible art for clients. Once I learned that specializing in lettering was an option I went all-in with the obsession. From the start, I found the most satisfying projects were in collaboration with wonderful people; and so to this day my favorite projects are ones in which I get to work with friends. For instance, last year I got to work with my pals The Joshua Tree House on branding for their new inn, Posada, in Tucson. Being able to channel the energy of a client and add my own spin makes for a super fun cocktail, in my opinion!

TN: When approaching our Austin space, what stood out most to you about the location and vibe of the store?

JM: The South Congress area is a neighborhood that I absolutely love since it is home to so many culturally fascinating places like The Continental Club and The Austin Motel. Since I already knew and loved Tuft & Needle, I had so many ideas of how well they would fit into the area, which is already so rich with art! I hope that our mural stands as a piece of art to welcome the neighborhood into the Tuft & Needle store and celebrate the spirit of the area. The store itself is such a soothing place to be! It's such a dreamy oasis on a super fun street.

TN: Walk us through the process of creating for our space. Were there any challenges? 

JM: Truly, I am not trying to flatter, but working with the Tuft & Needle team was one of the easiest, most naturally inspiring creative processes I've had. It helps, of course, that the project brief was super energizing to begin with! Thanks to the art direction of Chris Evans and the entire Tuft & Needle team the artwork came along really naturally. Luckily we happened to schedule the painting for late February, not knowing just how drastically COVID-19 would change our lives. I managed to travel down to Austin, get everything painted, and get back home to New York before March.

TN: What's your favorite part of the T&N piece?

JM: With this mural I really wanted to honor Texas as a whole, especially the beautiful landscape of the area where Austin is situated. All those plateaus, valleys, and mountains and the big views of the sky. The state song was my first inspiration, and with that came lots and lots of stars! I definitely think that painting all of those stars was my favorite way to put the finishing touches on this mural. 

In the Austin area? We’d love for you to see the mural in person. You can book a private shopping appointment here.

Jen Mussari is a jack of many trades and a master of a couple. A lettering artist from Philadelphia who fell in love with Baltimore, out of love with San Francisco and is now living in and loving Brooklyn. She works from the co-working space, Small City, in Gowanus, Brooklyn, with a wild group of other freelancers. When she's not working, she is thinking about working. Her clients include Squarespace, Shopify, Refinery29, the Lincoln Motor Company, and an all-girl motorcycle gang called The Miss-Fires.

Follow her on Instagram, and keep an eye out for more of her work on her site.

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Shelly Weaver-Cather
Shelly Weaver-Cather

Shelly Weaver is part of the Content Team at Tuft & Needle, leading the writing and editing of our blog. Not quite a Phoenix native, (They take that sort of thing super seriously.) Shelly has spent most of her life in the Phoenix Metro area and has no plans of leaving anytime soon. She made the unexpected jump out of wedding photography and onto T&N’s team in 2016, and found a passion for the people that keep the lights on. She still finds herself shooting in her free time, though these days there are less bridal portraits and more masterpieces of her first child, Duke, a lab-pit mix with an unparalleled love for both T&N mattress hogging and couch destroying.

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