23 Questions for Street Artist Retna

23 Questions for Street Artist Retna
Name: Marquis Lewis
Age: 32 rotations around the sun
Occupation: Working through my struggles
City/Neighborhood: Mid-City, L.A. to the death

What project are you working on now? MOCA's "Art in the Streets" exhibition

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What's the last show that you saw? Kehinde Wiley at Roberts & Tilton and Judith Supine at New Image Art Gallery

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What's the last show that surprised you? "Art in the Streets"

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Why? Because I had the opportunity to work with all the people that inspire me. Also because Jeffrey has the courage, despite all the trials and tribulations, to say this is the movement and it needs to be recognized.

What's your favorite place to see art? I'm curious to know if they have any shows in the afterlife.

Do you make a living off your art? Some people might think that. What's a living now and these days?

What's your favorite letter, in any alphabet? I like them all.

What is the most exciting public place you've ever put your art? The Masonic temple on Wilshire Blvd

What has been your most dramatic run-in with the law? I blocked that out of my memory. Now they call me because they want to hang out. I like that relationship a lot better.

What's the most indispensable item in your studio? My soul

Where are you finding ideas for your work these days? The great people I have around me.

Do you collect anything? People and art

What's the last artwork you purchased? Several photographs by KC Ortiz — if I could ever achieve the honesty in his photographs in my artwork, I would be a very happy person.

What's the weirdest thing you ever saw happen in a museum or gallery? People get beat down.

What's your favorite post-gallery watering hole or restaurant? My studio. I used to like the Soho House West Hollywood until they kicked me out. I guess I wasn't sophisticated enough to hang out there or maybe they didn't like the L.A. hat I wore every time I walked in there.

Do you have a gallery/museum-going routine? I take the time to go to shows for people that I care about.

What's the last great book you read? I took mushrooms, does that count?

What work(s) of art do you wish you owned? If I could own some of the ancient temples that would be cool. Are those considered works of art?

What would you do to get it? Fight for it like anyone else.

What international art destination do you most want to visit? I heard there are some interesting things happening in China.

What under-appreciated artist, gallery, or work do you think people should know about? That's a loaded question. I don't think Known Gallery L.A. is under-appreciated, but more people need to know about it.

Who's your favorite living artist? I'd have to stay true to my art and say Chaz Bojorquez.

What are your hobbies? I'm a workaholic. I'd say my art takes all of my time.