I Wanted a Mobile Art Studio. So I Built One, in the Back of a Honda.


Published: May 16th, 2019

Writers: Wendy MacNaughton

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/16/business/wendy-macnaughton-mobile-studio.html?searchResultPosition=11

Long, Solo, serendipitously structured road trips are a big part of how I find meanwhile stories and how I learn about people, including myself. But constantly schlepping art supplies into motels left me wishing I had a drivable room where I could paint, draw, write, scan and design stories – even submit this very column. When I couldn’t find a vehicle that met my needs, I decided to build one myself.

The talented woodworker, Max Schulz, and I collaborated on a fully self contained mobile studio built inside the back of a 2009 Honda element. created specifically for this illustration-journalism-social work thing I do, it contains a custom art supply cabinet and angled drawing table. A battery strong enough to run a color balanced light, iPad, computer and scanner; and a lock box. The seat serves as storage and also becomes a bed.

It’s boxy and burgundy, unsexy and unassuming. In other words, its my dream.

Wendy MacNaughton is a graphic journalist based in San Francisco.


This article was very unique. It was more like a portfolio entry and it wasn’t written out. It was all told through these illustrated pictures. This artist talked about how she made an art studio in her Honda, which I though was convenient. Although, I am not looking to create a whole art studio in the trunk of a Honda, I think the approach and the thinking behind it is intriguing. I’ve always found the design of tiny spaces clever and well though out. To be able to design for a small space, one has to think of creative ways to include new elements into a limited space. I think this applies to our challenge because we are tasked with designing something for the vehicle cargo storage of a car. Whether that is adding, subtracting, or improving elements of the existing Honda’s, I believe it is important to have this level of creative thinking when approaching this problem. MacNaughton was able to fit a whole drawing desk, storage, and drawing seating arrangement in her car. She demonstrates that the elements are adjustable to allow for more space in the trunk if needed. I can take these aspects of her design and apply to the type of thing I will be creating for the Honda’s that will help with curbside pickup.