Ms. Mustache

September 3, 2009

This past spring, alumnus Aya Kakeda (MFA 2002 Illustration as Visual Essay) was chatting with friend and fellow illustrator Nina Frenkel when they discovered that both had spent time in Hungary and were influenced by Hungarian culture. Furthermore, the Hungarian Cultural Center in New York City was sponsoring an Extremely Hungary Extremely Mustache Contest, and the two artists decided this was the perfect excuse to launch a large-scale collaboration.

The women needed a strategy other than growing any actual whiskers, so Kakeda and Frenkel fashioned an outsized, wearable handlebar mustache for two and entered the contest as the Mustache Sisters. “We didn’t win the Grand Prize [a trip to Budapest], but we won in the ‘Dali’ division, which is for the most artistic mustache,” says Kakeda. The pair earned a free brunch for two at Café des Artistes (a landmark NYC eatery that closed its doors late this summer) and have extended the collaboration into an ongoing project. As part of the Crossing the Line Festival, the Mustache Sisters will be part of an installation in a Macy’s Herald Square window display, on view September 8 – 17; and Target’s First Saturday program will find the artists running a “hands-on mustache workshop” at the Brooklyn Museum on Saturday, October 3, 6:30 – 8:30pm. For more information on these appearances and the Mustache Sisters project, visit

Image: Park Slope Tea Party, 2009; photo by Flynn Larsen.

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