There’s no denying the fact that unless you a 7-foot-tall NBA basketball player, you will be will be dwarfed immediately by the works of RETNA, a.k.a. Marquis Lewis. Now at Guy Hepner, not only will you find his larger-than-life canvases are the first thing you notice but their emblazoning of his own signature hieroglyphical script.
Story of a Dying Breed (below), [96 x 64in]
Marquis Lewis, learned the ins and outs of this world at an early age; a LA native who grew up between Mid-City and Koreatown, he was already tagging by age eight. “One of the ways I was able to stay out of trouble over the years was by changing my name so many times,” says Marquis Lewis. He’s been called everything from “Skab of Broadway” to “Moses,” but today, Lewis is known as “Retna”, a term he adopted from a Wu-Tang Clan lyric—one of the hottest names to come out of the Los Angeles art world in the past decade.
Brimstone M [64 x 28in]
Retna prints are most notable for their typographical script, is a melding of ancient Incan, Egyptian, Arabic, Hebrew and Asian calligraphy with graffiti. It’s a written language he has perfected after 25 years which he continues to emphasize in his work, often depicting a deeper hidden message, as well as the background color and technique.
America [84 x 68in]
Nevertheless, Retna artist, only 35, is on upward and dynamic trajectory in his career. Landing projects like collaborations with brands such as Louis Vuitton and Nike, to billboards and murals all around LA, to installations inside multilingual childrens book, Am I a Giraffe?, by Dr. Jungmiwha Bullock, and even a hand-painted work on a private jet!
Retna New York.