RETNA

[
LOS ANGELES, CA, USA
]

Known for his unique...

lettering, LA-based artist RETNA loves going out to Miami. His bold and distinctive murals for Primary Flight, painted on some of the biggest walls around Wynwood since 2006, have become a part of the city's artistic landscape. RETNA was honored to join the Wynwood Walls in 2011 as he sees Tony Goldman's project as an integral part of the community that brings world-renowned artists and an art audience to the Wynwood center. Coincidentally starting on September 11, RETNA painted a piece that pays homage to people who have passed away, and he wrote "sacred dance of memories" and "salva los espiritus santos" (save the holy spirits) in the two rows of letters that we see.

The artist strives to embrace the universality of human experience in his work. You don't need to decipher his letters to think of the different ways even ancient cultures have recorded their history. RETNA started with graffiti and developed his own alphabet with influences from Chicano gang writing in Los Angeles as well as calligraphic traditions from Egyptian to Mayan to others around the world. He describes the precision in each of his brushstrokes as peace of mind. As a stylistic change, he painted large white letters on a red background to differentiate his Wynwood Walls mural from the walls he had done in Los Angeles. He emphasizes the part community plays in his artistic process.

"New York had its heyday, LA was the mural capital, and now it's probably Philadelphia — but when it comes to graffiti and street art, I find it really interesting that Miami is the only place in America where you can get all of these people together. There are a lot of people who don't like this stuff; people go to jail for it—obviously if you tried to do something like Wynwood in LA everyone would get all bent out of shape. But out there it's like they're fighting for it. It makes people happy. Maybe even people that don't understand it that much see it, and the more they see it, the more they love it. And all of that helps keep me going."