“I'm always experimenting,” says Brandon “Monk” Muñoz. “I've been working with wood my whole life, but there came a point when I said, 'If I have to build another cabinet, I'm gonna go insane.'”
Instead, the 37-year-old father of four sawed his own path into a world of elegant, breathtaking furniture with his brand Monkwood, taking the title from his childhood nickname (he looked like a flying monkey on BMX jumps). He's Instagram-famous for his work, but he's also famous around Fullerton for assuming different personas; today, he's sporting a floppy explorer hat, terrible '80s sunglasses and a Cheech Marin mustache. “I like to change up my look to see how people react, and it's the same with my furniture,” he says. “Every table is a new experiment.”
That doesn't mean his work is haphazard. Muñoz is known for stoic tables, benches and desks made from reclaimed wood that he purchases from eccentric characters he refers to as Harley Dude and David Lee Roth. Some pieces are modern and sanded so meticulously they're silky to the touch; others are purposefully rough, resembling something that belongs under the light of torches at a medieval pub. Each piece is built in his workshop, where the tool rack is a life-size cutout of a great white shark and every instrument hangs exactly the same distance apart thanks to his OCD. “The real challenge with furniture is to make it say something,” Muñoz says. “I try to facilitate an experience where people can imagine themselves sitting at my table.”
Right now, that's a table with one talented dude and one crazy mustache.