Scottish Graffiti commissioned by El Cartel
Scottish artist, Bernie Reid, whose work has been exhibited in some of the world’s leading galleries, is serving up his distinct art form to Edinburgh’s foodies with his first major work since lockdown.
Commissioned by The Bon Vivant Group (TBVG), Bernie has created a 10metre long wall painting for Mexican restaurant El Cartel Roxburgh, which opened earlier this month.
With a Mexican revolutionary theme, the painting’s abstract figures in muted primary colours of red, green and blue, with high spots of bright yellow, create a visual drama that fits the restaurant’s iconic brand.
In keeping with Bernie’s graffiti style, which has been recognised by the likes of Duran Duran, Stella McCartney and even Liberty’s of London, the painting uses a mixture of emulsion and spray paint.
The commission for the wall painting follows the overwhelmingly positive response to early works by the artist that have appeared in El Cartel Teviot and Lady Libertine, other The Bon Vivant Group properties. The brief was to create an artwork that reflected the street style and authenticity of the food being served.
“This was a fantastic commission coming out of lockdown. El Cartel wanted something reminiscent of the large frescoes by Mexican painter Diego Rivera who helped to establish murals in international art in the early 20th century. It was the perfect opportunity for me to bring my graffiti style to an iconic Latin American tradition.
“It is also quite a challenge to test yourself by painting directly on to a wall. To get the composition right in a way that will attract people’s interest and draw their eyes along the length of the picture. I hope diners will be intrigued and that it adds to the ambience and character of the restaurant.”
Bernie started his career as an illustrator using purely stencils and spray paint. His work included album sleeves for Duran Duran, and artwork for shops including Stella McCartney and Liberty. After attending the Edinburgh College of Art (2007-2011), however, he discovered a love for classic 20th century art and began to push this influence forward using his signature style for stencils, spray paint and unconventional materials.
Now his work is more likely to be found in art galleries than in shop design, but he loves the idea of creating art where it is accessible to everyone. One recent work, Gang Billboard, is displayed in the playground of Wester Hailes Education Centre. Look carefully around Leith and there are more Bernie Reid creations on abandoned doors and street corners.
“My trademark is weird figurative paintings with a graffiti attitude and that means putting them in unloved spots around the city so as many people as possible can see them. You must have fun and feel involved in the art you produce. That’s how I felt creating the wall painting for El Cartel. I enjoyed it and I hope that comes across, and that everyone can find something they like.”