It’s a sunny breezy weekday afternoon and artist Renda Writer is getting material out of his traveling studio van to create a new mural. The van is replete with spray paint, neatly stacked boxes of over 100 completed artworks on canvas, books, markers, a bed and flat screen TV.
“This has everything I need,” says the eager artist, “I like to travel and be prepared.”
His most recent mission was to paint a mural at Barkhaus, a pet boarding facility in Miami’s Little River district that has a roomy dog run yard surrounded by a wooden fence.
“I had painted a LOVE mural nearby here on 79th and Biscayne and the owners of Barkhaus were walking a bunch of the dogs and posed them in front of it and tagged me on Instagram. I saw it and followed up with them and said hey I can do a mural in your big yard if you want. They were hip to the idea, I chose the colors from their house – a nice bright teal – and they suggested the word Woof. That’s all I needed.”
Renda painted the mural on whole black fence, the word Woof repeated in an offset grid. He worked with the slats of the wood fence, starting at the top left – like every good writer – and works straight across, alternating colors as he goes. He bumped the word by one letter.
“I like to do the murals in one shot if possible, I get in a zone and just go. I don’t play music usually,” he says. I like to listen to my own thoughts and the nature sounds as I’m usually outdoors. I almost always work alone and set up a camera to make a time lapse recording. This is meditation for me.”
The mural was done in three hours, he signed his name on it, as well as Barkhaus’s at the bottom in a pop of pink amid the cool turquoise and white. Barkhaus’ dogs currently in residence lined up in approval for a photo, the Great Dane playing the hip card with sunglasses on.
Watch Handwritten Mural by Renda Writer at The Barkhaus in Miami.
Renda Writer started as a writer not a visual artist, and then segued into poetry and acting – everything word based. He started making art in 2012 and the murals about 4 years ago. His very first work was in Wynwood when he started work on a project at N’Namdi Contemporary art, in the heart of the internationally popular Wynwood Arts District of Miami. He set out on the task of using only simple white paint marker to write a simple 2-sentence mantra over and over on the 30 ft x 30 ft exterior blue wall of the famed art gallery and offered to paint his wall for free.
That mantra was “Love is a risk. Do it anyway.” and it was written approximately 500,000 times across the entire expanse of the wall, taking about 350 labor hours, over the course of 6 weeks. After that the work started to pour in. The talk on the streets was mirrored by an explosion of attention on social media, as Renda’s mural was photographed, uploaded, tagged, and shared on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, creating a viral phenomenon whose effects are still rippling outward today, as people continue snapping pics of themselves in front of the mural and spreading them across the internet.
“I tag my work and get it out there on Instagram, you have to be innovative and treat it like a business. I’m a tough boss on myself!,” he says. “I think every truth in life can be boiled down to a phrase. When I didn’t know what to do with my life I heard people say do what you love. I love words and visual art so that gave me the direction. As a kid I holed up in my room reading and listening to hip hop music, I got a job in NYC with Columbia Records but after a few years realized that wasn’t my true path. I was doing Poetry Slams and spoken word nights. When I moved to Florida in 2004 I had a goal to continue all that and be more professional about it. My goal as an artist is to make my handwriting into visual art and to shed light on the general idea that handwriting can be seen as art, reminding viewers that the art is in what the words say, how they look, and how they’re written.”
World Peace Mural Tour
His “Handwritten Murals” draw on influences and inspiration from street art, graffiti, typography, public art, poetry, mantras, and pop-art-like repetition.
From there, Renda has gone on to complete over 100 handwritten murals, and has also started The World Peace Mural Tour, where he goes around the world creating a mural with those words. The tour is aligned with the idea of “writing things into existence,” and presents a way of using the power of words and the medium of public art to spark conversations and effect change.
It started with the first mural, on April 23rd, 2016 at Georgia-Jones Ayers Middle School in the Allapattah neighborhood of Miami.
“I will do the World Peace Mural Tour for the rest of my life.” Renda says. “It was motivated by the Gandhi quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Renda Writer also does “Handwritten Body Art” with his signature “L7 Pattern” using various colored paint markers. He does a line of clothing of hats, t-shirts and dresses. With his chiseled looks, Renda has done acting, appearing in “Magic City,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “The Glades,” and “South Beach Tow.” He has also done quite a bit of commercial work, acting in commercials for several local car dealerships, as well as commercials for popular brands such as Nike, Sprite, and Swisher.
His work is taking him to California this summer and then who knows where. “One mural leads to another,” he says with a smile.
You can find information about the artist and his work at Rendawriter.com
Renda Writer: The Power of Repetition