Erni Vales Adds Vibrancy to Mercadito and Sushi Maki

A good restaurant experience is always about the food. But sometimes you can't help but notice the artwork on the walls, and Erni Vales, contemporary urban artist, knows just how to draw you in. His larger than life murals cover the walls of several Miami restaurants, so whether you're biting into your tacos al pastor at Mercadito or a two-timing tuna roll at Sushi Maki, the colors and images tantalize your eyes as much as the food does your tongue.

Erni, a charismatic and enterprising artist, has had an illustrious and captivating journey. From his early days as a subway graffiti artist in NYC to his recent collaborations with David LaChapelle, Erni's story is full of buildings, painters, clubs, filmmakers and lots and lots of paint. He is best know for his 3D graffiti style that has influenced thousands worldwide who follow his technique, and the restaurant murals are a culmination of 30 years hard work and self discovery.

The murals, featuring scenery and bold graphics that traditionally do

not include food images, are a collaboration between Erni and the

owners. "We look at the space, the design and overall concept of the

restaurant." The pieces are not meant to take away from the food, but

rather provide an additional and complementary sensory experience. "The

hardest part is deciding what to paint. Once I have that it flows."

And flows fast, according to Abe Ng, owner of Sushi Maki restaurants who

recently commissioned another piece for their Sushi Maki Kendall location.

Be it fighting dragons, a luchador mask, mariachis, or a wave with bright orange fish, the murals add vitality to the dining experience and are sure to draw a smile to your face.

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