RETNA, ‘Trash Can’, Julien's Auctions
RETNA, ‘Trash Can’, Julien's Auctions

Includes screen grabs of a text thread in which Retna verifies this as his work and states that it was produced for use in a car commercial. One panel of the trash can is tagged "AWR" for the Los Angeles street crew Art Work Rebels or Angels Will Rise and the adjoining panel is tagged "MSK" for the street crew Mad Society Kings or Main Street Killas both in which Retna was a member.
Courtesy of Julien’s Auctions


The street and studio artist Retna, born Marquis Lewis, picked his moniker from the lyrics of a Wu Tang song that resonated with him in his youth. Retna explains that he was inspired to pursue art after seeing graffiti on the freeway, and his practice now includes street art and painting on canvas. Retna has become known for his long and geometric script, which he developed while looking towards Egyptian and Native American traditional symbols. Though his marks resemble the calligraphy of multiple cultures (and he maintains that he composes his works in English and Spanish), the writing does not belong to a particular language. Retna explains, “I want my text to feel universal. I want people from different cultures to all find some similarity in it—whether they can read it or not.”

American, b. 1978, Los Angeles, California, based in Los Angeles, California