An Introduction to the Street Artist Retna

An Introduction to the Street Artist Retna

Retna is a US-based street artist whose work can be seen on walls and buildings worldwide. His unique style combines graffiti, abstract art, and typography elements, making his pieces instantly recognizable. This article will look at Retna's life and work and explore why he's become such an important figure in the street art scene.


Who Is Retna, and What Type of Art Does He Create?

Retna, whose real name is Marquis Lewis, is a Los Angeles-based street artist who began his career as a graffiti artist in the early 1990s and has become one of the well-respected names in street art.

He has cited the work of Egyptian painter Mahmoud Said as a major influence, and he frequently references religious and spiritual iconography in his work. Retna's art is characterized by intricate patterns and lettering, whether on a canvas or a brick wall.

Inspired by ancient calligraphy and hieroglyphics, his paintings often incorporate elements from multiple languages. This use of various scripts makes Retna's work distinctive; it allows him to create visually arresting compositions loaded with meaning.

And in recent years, Retna has increasingly focused on large-scale murals and public art installations. He also explored different types of media, including photography and painting. And this shift has allowed him to create art that makes a lasting impact and reaches a broader audience.


What Are Some of Retna’s Most Famous Pieces, and Where Can They Be Found?

Retna's work can be found in galleries and on public walls in cities such as New York, London, and Paris.

In addition to his street art, Retna has also begun collaborating with fashion designers, music stars, and other high-profile figures in the creative industries.

Retna for Justin Bieber's 'Purpose' album (2015)

So far he designed album covers for artists like Justin Bieber and Kanye West and top fashion brands like Louis Vuitton and Supreme.

Retna for Louis Vuitton, Miami Design District (2012)

How Has the Public Received Retna’s Work, and What Is His Standing within the Art World Today?

Retna has attracted some significant recognition for his work in recent years. In 2013, he was invited to create an art installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles. In 2016, he was commissioned to do a wall painting on the side of a 24-story public housing building in Mexico City called Edificio Cuauhtémoc.

Retna for Edificio Cuauhtémoc, Mexico (2016)

Retna has reportedly stated that he believes street art to be about more than just painting walls; it's about connecting with people and sharing ideas. This positive outlook has helped him achieve international acclaim and a loyal following among fans and fellow artists.

And as his career has progressed, Retna has continued to push the boundaries of his art form, creating truly unique and iconic works of art loved worldwide. And based on his impressive body of work and rumoured upcoming shows and projects, he shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.