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Retna: Visual Rhythms

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The press officer for the Halleluja World Tour curated by Vladmir Restoin Roitfeld, tells us at Crane.tv that Retna is not used to giving extended on-camera interviews and warns that it might be difficult to engage him in a lengthy conversation -- though we find ourselves talking for over an hour. Every word he expresses intense; beautiful expressions that make up his work in powerful shades of blue, red and black.

Retna is one of the great writers to succeed in spreading his art around the world. Growing up in Los Angeles, a multi-ethnic city which merges the history, religion and languages of many different cultures, Retna created his own take on the commonly used Old English script by interlarding it with Asian characters, Incan and Egyptian hieroglyphics. As a poet-cum-typographer, his sentences are 'visual rhythms' rather than an attempt to generate U.S.'s very own Esperanto.

Even though the message embodied by the text is pessimistic and often relates to death, the means is positive. Moreover, he sees the work as a tribute to the writers who once surrounded him on the streets of L.A. Even those who failed to believe he would be the last one to bring forth his craft and take it to another level.

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Text by Seyna Van Der Linden for Crane.tv

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