Fashion in the Streets: An Interview with Artist RETNA

Artist Retna

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”
––Coco Chanel

To me this quote explains how fashion and art are one. Recently I did a photoshoot in the heart of downtown LA’s Skid Row––I shot behind one of my favorite mural collaborations, created by Los Angeles artists RETNA and EL MAC, and had a chance to speak to RETNA about how the masterpiece came to fruition 

Skid Row Retna Mural

BG: When you and El Mac collaborated on the mural, why did you choose to do it in Skid Row, of all places?
RETNA: I picked the location as a friend of mine who ran a non-profit that helped homeless people with services called the Jonah project. At the time, no one had a new mural in skid row.
Who is the man in the Mural? What does he symbolize?
The Man is called BIG SLIM. He was a big crack cocaine distributer back in the 1980s. I went with Estevan Oriol around Skid Row and together we asked different people if we could photograph them. Some, because of the condition they were in, did not want their photographs to be taken. When we saw Slim he was super cool and had a very positive outlook. He looked as if he could overcome his situation of being homeless, and had a certain strength and upliftment to him. So, with El Mac, we decided on what image we would use, and we took it from there. I wrote “Blessed Are The Meek For They Shall Inherit The Earth.
How long does a mural like this take from start to finish?
Roughly four days.
Why do you think it is important to have art in the streets?
It is important to have art in the streets as a cultural fabric that is woven into the city for the upliftment of civic pride. Awareness of the Arts which every great nation and city contains is a long tradition that we are grateful to be a part of.
What would be your dream wall to paint? The Masonic Temple, or . . .?
No comment. HAHA!
Artist Retna
Photo by f1stclassloyal
Styled by califFAWNia
Hair by lizziescizzorhands