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RETNA (American, b.1979)


Also known as:  Marquis Lewis

Birth Place: Los Angeles, CA USA


RETNA (Marquis Lewis) is an American graffiti artist whose work has been featured in many successful ad campaigns for Nike, Louis Vuitton, and VistaJet. Born in Los Angeles, RETNA’s work is influenced by the graffiti of his hometown, but also by early graffiti artists like Basquiat and Keith Haring. His use of a constructed script is a RETNA signature, often mixing hieroglyphs, calligraphy, and illuminated scripts into highly personal messages. 

While moored in typographic forms, RETNA’s pieces show a surprising amount of depth and texture that only reveal themselves after repeated viewings. It makes sense for an artist who lists the mystical works of many world religions and the Wu-Tang clan as some of his biggest artistic inspirations. RETNA pieces are beautiful, inscrutable, and ask more questions than they answer -- the hallmark of art that is made to stand the test of time. 

What type of art does RETNA create?

RETNA is a graffiti artist whose work is inspired by street art, simple geometric shapes, mysticism, and traditional Native American symbology. HIs work has been featured in some of the largest galleries across the world and one of his pieces famously was used as the cover for the Justin Bieber album Purpose (2015). RETNA manages to retain his artistic vision, even while experiencing a surge in popularity with the commercial art world. 

How often does RETNA art come up for auction?

Since RETNA is so new to the art world, there haven’t been many times when their work has come up at auction. Most recently the piece Serenity of the mind States Moments of dark days allows Soaring like a search light -High- (2012) was sold at auction for $93,750. That said, RETNA’s popularity has soared in recent years, after being prominently featured in a Nike campaign. 

How much is a piece of RETNA art worth?

RETNA’s work is experiencing a bump in popularity thanks to their increased presence in the commercial art world. Besides the aforementioned piece, his work Conversation Piece (2012) sold in 2018 for $87,500 -- outperforming the high estimate by a significant margin. As RETNA’s reach in the art and commercial world continues to grow, there should be a corresponding appreciation with RETNA’s major pieces.

Which RETNA painting is the most valuable? 

Serenity of the mind States Moments of dark days allows Soaring like a search light -High- (2012) is the most valuable painting by RETNA. It was sold for $93,750 in 2019. This is in line with the bump in popularity that many RETNA works have seen in the second half of the 2010s. RETNA’s work continues to grow in popularity, firmly entrenching him in the current pop art movement.

What is the most famous art by RETNA? 

RETNA’s most art is also his most commercial. Besides his campaign for Nike and his cover for the 2015 Justin Bieber album, RETNA’s work has been featured in work for Louis Vuitton (2012) and VistaJet (2012). Inspired by his love of hip hop, any RETNA pieces have a distinctly modern and commercial feel that makes them an instantly hip edition to any collector’s portfolio. 

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