Renda Writer: Poetry in art

Renda Writer has been a poet, an editor, an art promoter, and in a way he’s still all of them, finding a way to merge his love of words with his eye for visual design. “I label myself as a handwritten artist, in addition to being a poet,” he says. “I guess I’m a poet first and foremost and kind of always have been. But since 2010, my focus has been on visual art.”

Born in New York City, he was raised in Broward from the age of 10, moving back for a stint in New York after college before settling into a normal life in Boca. He recalls, “I had a fairly regular job, but then I started really getting into doing creative stuff at the time, hosting events, doing poetry, everything.”

So he left his regular job and his regular life to pursue a more vagabond existence, devoting himself entirely to words and art, both as a promoter and as one of the founders of WeMerge magazine. That’s also when he first started blending his passion for words with his love of art, filling canvases with his writing and finding a home for his work in South Florida galleries and art walks.

His background in poetry gives his writing a sense of lyricism, which he simplifies, distilling vast meaning into simple phrases that he repeats again and again in his pieces, playing with repetition and geometric patterns until the words seem to lose their meaning, only to find them again.

Writer credits his art, and the inspiration he found in moving to Miami in 2012, with pulling him out of rough patch in his life. Before moving to Miami, he’d felt lost by both a bad break up and leaving the magazine he’d help found. “After the relationship, after quitting my magazine, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing,” he admits. “I wouldn’t say I lost hope, because the nature of hope is that it’s always there, that’s what hope is. But I didn’t know what my purpose was. That started to change as I focused on making art, and met more people. I started feeling like ‘This is Miami. This is my home.’”

He still fills plenty of canvasses with his words, but he’s also moved on to even bigger things, from cars, to murals, to body art, and he’s been invited to create live art at plenty of venues, including Art Basel events, where in 2014 he covered the walls of The Whitelaw Hotel with an expansive piece titled “Everything.” Up next is a set of murals he’s created for Carol City Middle School and another mural he’s scheduled to complete for a gallery in Detroit, as well as preparing for this year’s Art Basel.

And while his focus is on murals, he’s found plenty of time to collaborate, working with Jake Wilcox of Industry Tested on a series of portraits of hip hop artists and with Photography by Paloma on a photo series called “Mini Words in Nature.”

The phrases Writer uses in his work often serve to inspire and push people to take things further, including statements like “Love is a risk. Do it anyway.” and “There’s a Whole World Out There.” They are the phrases that motivate him, pushing him to stay focused on creating, and he hopes they can motivate others as well.

“My advice to anyone who wants to do anything is to do it,” he says. “Follow your heart, follow your passion, follow your inner voice, but be serious about it. Drown in it, become obsessed with it, remove everything that’s not your passion from your life. Become a student of your passion, become engrossed in it, and find others who also share your passions.”