At first glance, the work of the artist Retna looks like an undiscovered ancient script: a series of hypnotic symbols, complex, beautiful and captivating. But Retna has created an original alphabet, fusing together influences from ancient Incan and Egyptian hieroglyphics, Arabic, Hebrew, Asian calligraphy, and graffiti. Each piece carries meaning, conveying an event or dialogue that the artist experienced.
As a youth of African-American, El Salvadorian and Cherokee descent growing up in Los Angeles, Retna (real name Marquis Lewis) was mesmerized by the gang graffiti that surrounded him. He began practicing the art form, and adopted the name Retna from a Wu-Tang Clan song. In the mid-nineties he began making murals on walls, trains and freeway overpasses throughout the city.
Retna has transformed from a street artist to a break-out star in the contemporary art world. He has garnered attention from Usher, an R&B artist, who commissioned the artist to create a portrait of Marvin Gaye, and MOCA director Jeffrey Deitc.
This week's 'On the Street' is dedicated on more figurative works, that tackle the poetic, metaphorical and quite literal meaning of rising and falling in different nuance. Spaniard Borondo leads off with his newest wall of a man, fallen / hung in an upside down position.
Other notable pieces come from Xabier in Villabona, Jetsonorama in Perth, Seth Globepainter and Kislow in Kiev, Sam3 in Villa Real, Fintan Magee in Sydney, Hyuro in Perth, Banksy -Cheltenham and Bristol and Escif in Valencia.