Vida Verde is a modern Mexican restaurant in Midtown Manhattan. On the walls of the restaurant are hand-painted murals by Victor “Marka27” Quiñonez. Quiñonez was born in Mexico, raised in the U.S., and went to art school in Boston. In addition to having exhibited in galleries, he has also collaborated with many major brands, including Levis, Pioneer, Scion, Converse, Heineken, VH1, Disney, New Balance, and Kidrobot. Contributor Amy Sherman spoke with him as part of her continuing series on partnerships within the restaurant industry to learn more about this successful artist and his recent restaurant collaboration with Vida Verde.
How did you first connect with the team behind Vida Verde?
I knew the chef Hugo Orozco, and my studio is close to his first restaurant, La Slowteria. Orozco knew my work and, like me, he’s from Mexico, He wanted to bring authenticity to his restaurant and my understanding of Mexican culture fit. He wanted something neo-indigenous — Mexican culture but influenced by the U.S.
Who were the stakeholders in the project?
The chef as was the biggest stakeholder when it came to creative direction. The management wanted the chef to be happy but also to have it work with the interior designer and architects. The team was, maybe, three people at the most. We wanted murals that were authentic but modern — not cliché or predictable.
How did you choose the themes for the murals?
When I chose Frida Kahlo as a subject, it wasn’t a typical portrait but a mix of Hugo’s vision of nature and organic ingredients and agave and different natives using peyote for medicinal purposes and food. His cooking led to a recipe for not just the food but the murals themselves.
I also created anamorphic murals upstairs. In anamorphic designs, the work is broken up into different spaces so it can be experienced at different angles and head on. The “Manos de Dios” was a tribute to the people who work in agriculture because we should think more about the people who grow and pick and pack our food on the trucks. [Read more…]