Muralist Alexis Diaz Adds Artistic Touch to New Las Vegas Gastropub
Photo: Courtesy Mandalay Bay.
Muralist Alexis Diaz sees potential where others see decrepitude. Buildings are his canvases. The Puerto Rican artist has enlivened architecture all over the world with his magical brand of freehand street art. His latest project involves decking the walls of Libertine Social, a modern, sophisticated gastropub opening at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on Aug. 8. The original art is an edgy, fresh addition to what promises to be a swanky, chic eatery.
Diaz’s surrealist style often pairs mammals with sea life to form hybrid creatures that look at once both mythological and ancient, like something you’d see in Da Vinci’s sketchbook. A devotee of painstaking detail, the artist studies animals native to the area before he arrives in the cities where his murals are commissioned. The specifics of each creation are informed by the space itself as well as its geographical surroundings.
“I take inspiration from the place I want to do the mural,” Diaz says. “I always work in the place, in the moment. It’s more spontaneous.”
For the Libertine Social project, Diaz went in search of mystical animals of North America, and came across the jackalope. Coincidentally, the logo of the restaurant turned out to be a rabbit. Because he likes mixing textures, Diaz added wings to balance out the animal’s fur. Now, it stretches across the façade of the restaurant, an exotic, albeit flighty, trickster. Diaz will also create an original tag for the patio of Libertine Social, which he says will lend a vintage vibe to the space.
In both designs, Diaz was granted artistic freedom to experiment. He typically presents three sketches for commissions, and in this case, he was pleased that the owners chose the ones he happened to like best.
Diaz, who studied art in high school and college, moved to Miami five months ago. His mural work has been so in-demand, however, that he doesn’t get home much. “Right now,” he laughs, “I’m living at the airport.” Most artists would call that a “nice problem to have.”