Carnival in Mexico is a centuries-old tradition, celebrated by over 225 different communities across the country. With traditions ranging from dressing up as monkeys to revelers covering each other in flour, egg and water – no two Mexican carnivals are ever the same. Iconic for their traditional masks, dancing, music and street food, Mexican carnivals are an unmissable experience for the worldly traveller.
Teaming up with El Jimador Tequila, Constellations are bringing a slice of the action to Liverpool with their own weekend carnival takeover. To mark the occasion, our outdoor garden bar has been given a new identity, with artists Emily Salinas and Sasha Spyrou transforming this 8-metre long canvas into a monumental El Jimador-inspired mural.
Best describing their efforts as a “knackering version of yoga,” Emily and Sasha’s tenacity has seen them channel the spirit of Michelangelo, as they’ve twisted and turned to cover the walls and ceiling with their monoline-style characters. With agave farmers, sugar skulls, flaming hearts and more – the piece is designed to transport the bar around the world and into the cantinas of Mexico.
Taking inspiration from El Jimador tequila’s traditional design, Emily and Sasha’s piece combines iconic Mexican artwork with influences from around the world: “When El Jimador approached us with their black and white design, we took this as inspiration. We have combined three of our favourite influences; the artwork of Keith Haring, the design style of the Memphis Group and tattoo-style art, to create something brand-new.”
“Mexican imagery is a style I am very much into,” Emily tells us. “I have a fair bit of Mexican artwork at home. The traditional Mexican wrestling look is something I’ve always loved. I saw a traditional luchadore wrestling match when I went to Bolivia to visit family, it blew my mind! The costumes are works of art and the matches are pure theatre!”
Having both met at university, this is surprisingly Emily and Sasha’s first collaboration. Sasha, a resident inside the Ley Lines Studios alongside Emily, has previously worked on projects with the mysterious guerrilla-style artist, Tomo and has exhibited her work as far away as New Zealand. Meanwhile, Emily comes from a background of graphic design and more recently sign painting, having met and been inspired by Tony Booth – The original poster artist for none-other than The Beatles. No stranger to a bit of street art herself either, Emily has previously created an art installation outside the Bombed Out Church and featured in a number of magazines for her endeavours.
Both agree that this undertaking has been like nothing they’ve ever done before: As Sasha tells us: “I’ve done murals before but not in this style. I’ve never worked with the help of a projector and I’ve also never worked to such a minimalist aesthetic before. Murals I’ve done in the past have always been painted more in a free-hand style so it has proven quite a learning curve for me.” Despite the challenges faced by the pair, Emily is quick to point out that: “The best part of the project has been the creative freedom. We have been super lucky that El Jimador and Constellations have both given us the creative freedom to play around with the brand, have fun with it and take things in a slightly different direction.”
You can view Emily and Sasha’s brand-new mural, as well as a number of Emily’s hand-painted signs, down at the El Jimador Carnival between Friday 11th and Sunday 13th August. Throughout the weekend, the carnival will host exclusive El Jimador cocktails, music from some of Liverpool’s best loved DJs and a mouth-watering Mexican menu from Finca. The event will be family friendly so be sure to bring the whole team down for the best carnival vibes in town. Constellations are also running a competition across the week; the winner will be entitled to one of each cocktail from the El Jimador cocktail hut this weekend. Be sure to check out the Facebook event for more details on how you can get involved.