Art

RETNA x Playboy Mx x Reine Gallery

1. When did you decide to dedicate yourself fully to art? What happened that year and what can you tell us about your life before this moment?

I started painting, I started doing it a long time ago and I stole the “BB posters”. I was taking them. In this he painted in the Art Noveau style. I liked it when women looked strong, but they all had clothes when I portrayed them. From there I started with some guys from “Church Boutique”. They taught me a little more “styling” and so I started buying cooler clothes. So when I couldn’t paint, I invited friends, friends or models and with them, I began to abstract and use a sketch or drawing as a reference. It was never finished, I just used it as inspiration for new ideas. When he couldn’t paint but wanted to stay creative, he used that method. I also started doing graffiti thirty-three years ago.

2. You grew up in Los Angeles, did the Latino community have any influence on your work?

Sure, a shitload. It has enough, I always liked indigenous temples. I liked the letters that were in those temples and I always looked at the similarity between all those cultures and myself, because I am black and Salvadoran.

3. What are the most difficult obstacles you faced?

There are several, something always comes out, there is always bullshit. One thinks, every time something comes up, that this will be the most difficult obstacle; however, there will always be more obstacles throughout an artist’s career. Right now what I’m learning is not to pay so much attention to what people say. I always fought because there was a dignified treatment of artists by the people who buy their art; But nowadays, there are people who are doing fakes, people who are falsifying my work and I feel an immense helplessness. It depresses me that I can’t do anything about it. On the other hand, I know that there are a lot of good people and it is on them that we have to focus, since many times I pay attention to the negative, when we have to continue promoting good actions.

4. Your art can be interpreted as an original alphabet, a series of captivating codes and symbols. What do you hope people perceive?

What matters most to me is that people are happy. That is the priority. On the other hand, I want to learn to recognize what they see in my art. I see that the letters I make are soft and represent a universal language. I did not create the circle or the lines, but the way I make these letters is something that I have been working on for over thirty years. What I wanted was for everything to come together and maybe I could do it. Currently, there are people who can better understand this alphabet. I also think that it shouldn’t bother me so much that other people copy these symbols, as it could be said that they are something that they have appropriated and reinterpreted.

5. Even after exhibiting in the most prestigious places and spaces, you remain faithful to street art: art for everyone. How do you see the relationship between the fine arts and the codes of graffiti on the streets?

On the other hand, my art has always carried the label of “street art”, however I do not consider it that way, nor do I pigeonhole that it is only that, I am still a graffiti artist and I even do some things that are illegal, but street art It gave many graffiti artists a bad name by leaving them aside and denying many artists for years, denying them the possibility of shining in their careers. Before this whole world was a secret thing to which if you did not know what it was about you did not give due respect, now it is something so accessible and easy for many new people causing them to leave out people who had been in this for longer.

The important thing here is to know how to be in both worlds, when you do street art it is a totally different context from museums and galleries, it is a more violent world, however I have learned to be softer and deal with all culture established, learning to identify this context and surf properly, anyway before everything mentioned my art was already totally influenced by the walls of the Chicanos in Los Angeles, an important reference for me, and that is why until today, to the Artists that I admire the most are the muralists and the people who paint walls, like me, from time to time if I like to go and paint the odd wall without permission, right?

6. Do you have any special relationship with Mexico?

I grew up with many Mexican people and from different parts of Latin America being the result of an important influence in my work. I think that while in the United States, as well as in London and other parts of the world, they come to think that people of Mexican origin are crazy and there is a prejudice and they keep them down, however I think that Mexico is much more beautiful and is a place where they have always treated me better than the way they treat me there in the United States. I have always been very surprised by that, but I can say that I love them.

To be here and the people are very friendly, they listen, they learn and what an older culture is like and for the same reason they understand more how to respect artists or appreciate them more. I think that in the United States it is still a very young culture and for the same reason they are a little behind. 

7. We constantly see his work related to celebrities and world icons. What influence does this have on your artwork?

I also remember that the representation of this sensuality I did in a tribute with Alexander Mcqueen who is a designer that I like a shit, and from there I managed to represent this together with Channel, things with Louis Vuitton, with Jimi Choo, and a shitload of clients well respectable. Even a few years ago I remember having already done a collaboration together with Playboy where I only painted a model and took a photoshoot. The funny thing was that with these photoshoots and together with a friend named Dean, I began to discover that I was also able to do all the styling of the model and intervene from scratch, even though I didn’t know what I was doing, these models let us experiment and Little bit we were improving, with cool things and all our style.

8. We are experiencing a series of world changes, within these a more conscious sexual liberation and revolution. What is the relationship with sexuality and eroticism in your artistic work?

Let’s say that even in the letters my work has always been like “male”, masculine, there is always like a family, I always do the paintings in pairs, and I thought that when I died, I wanted the paintings to have their partner, for example, the “E” in my alphabet is the woman and the “s”

represents the man that came from before when I was making the “BB posters” that I mentioned at the beginning, those represented women. Currently what I am doing with Digital World is combining these posters with augmented reality, but there are still people who

they do not understand it, they only understand the work embodied in paintings, which represent a pyramidal style that in the end represent this question of duality. I collect and refer to men’s art, such as “Benedikt Taschen Jr”, although I have always thought that men represent violence and women sensuality, so the art I collect also has a direct influence on what I paint. , the duality all the time, the pair, the couple, even the representation of my childhood and how I grew up alone with my mother and the lack of a father figure. As a child I did not understand much about sexuality and all that, so I took inspiration from many people and I also learned from many women, powerful women, at the time I painted that power inspired me, that strength, elegance and that sensuality.

9. What are your main influences, muses and obsessions as an artist?

I think that the subject of sexuality in the United States is still taboo, however there is a bit of hypocrisy since for many people it is fine to go to museums and see art with representations of naked people, but in real life it is something very different, and there are many prejudices towards sexuality, however I believe that through art that can change.

In the end, the people who work with me, those collaborators matter because thanks to them my art can be reflected, they let me be and I believe, I become the director a bit

10. What is your next big project?

PLAYBOY MEXICO, You, Gilda

For more information on RETNA CLICK HERE:

https://www.maiacontemporary.com/retna

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