by Rocio Zamora Arzola
- Popular in Mexico and in Latino barrios of L.A., makeshift tin men called monos, made of old car parts, are being used by muffler shops, junkyards and auto repair garages as a way of promoting their business and appealing to their Latino clientele.
- The funky aesthetic behind these marketing tools have some asking whether they should be considered folk art, but most mono artisans simply view their creations as a practical way of practicing their welding skills and of keeping busy when business is slow.
- Monos have inspired a children’s book, El Homber Mofle — Muffler Man, and an exhibit at UCLA’s Fowler Museum
WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS
- As a way of letting people know about local neighborhood services, muffler monos have also become a cultural signature. While their creators may not think of themselves as artists, to outside eyes, monos set a cheerful tone to what are utilitarian necessities.
- Brands that attempt to emulate the folksiness of monos to market their wares should watch for the authenticity factor.
- El Homber Mofle – Muffler Man by Titus “Tito” Campos (paperback), Del Sol Books 2009