“I am a graffiti writer and a fine artist. I come from the lineage of street writers but my work has evolved into fine art. I just want to be taken as serious artist.”
Influenced by Egyptian hieroglyphics and calligraphy from the Middle East and Asia, RETNA is a world renowned graffiti artist creating highly distinctive and widely collected art. Blending photography with painted graffiti lettering and combining elements of the past, present and future RETNA’s work appears complex, beautiful and captivating.
Having adopted the name ‘RETNA’ from a popular Wu-Tang Clan song, his art form is wrought with stories and almost always includes his own alphabet that he created, a hybrid of global typography; Incan, Egyptian, Asian, Hebrew, Arabic, Native American visual writings, hieroglyphic and ink calligraphy.
Each piece carries meaning, conveying an event or dialogue that RETNA experienced. Celebrity commissions have included creating a portrait of Marvin Gaye for R&B artist Usher as well as having been commissioned by Louis Vuitton to create an original work on the building’s exterior walls, a first for the luxury brand.
Born in California in 1979, RETNA’s work is impressive, using text and image to expand the boundaries of painting and confound visual interpretation. Starting with a precise optic paint, his compositions are powerful, fusing various types of media. Growing up in Los Angeles RETNA began graffiti writing as an alternative to the gang culture that was around the artist at the time providing a powerful means of expression.
RETNA states his love of art nouveau as an inspiration, striving to embrace the universality of human experience, his style is embraced on urban city streets as well as within elite art galleries.