Renda Writer paints love - over and over again. One of his first murals, handwritten in Wynwood Art District in Miami, Florida, features “I am love” over a million times. In the last five years, Writer has painted more 100 murals throughout the United States and Mexico and Haiti. But Writer didn’t always want to be a painter. He grew up obsessed with hip-hop music, and quickly turned to making his own music and performing his poetry. But after spending many years working in South Florida and New York, Writer was beginning to feel “less inspired” by his music.
In 2012, he was working in a smoothie shop in Miami, living out of his car and spending most of his time walking up and down South Beach. The hours spent walking and people watching, oddly enough, paid off. The trash along the strip caught his eye, and would jumpstart his career into the visual arts, making him one of the most well-known artists in Miami.
“I just needed something new to regenerate my passion, so I started writing on garbage basically. I’ve always been the type to just find stuff on the street and figure out a way to use it. Then I started finding stuff and being like, man, I could write on it, and I could call it art,” Writer said. “I went from there, and just started rocking and rocking, and then in 2014 I did my first mural.”
Writer is most well known for his murals featuring the word “love” or short phrases around that sentiment. Since gaining more notoriety and an uptick in commissions, Writer also paints self-affirmations and positive sayings. His main focus right now, however, are his murals featuring world peace. He has painted them in Mexico, Haiti and the United States, and he plans to expand to as many countries as he can.
“We’re one Trump tweet away from World War III, so world peace is a message we definitely need. I was like, that’s what I do, murals. Now what can I do to better the world? And that’s what I came up with,” Writer said. “Words have power. All words, whether spoken or written, have an energy behind them and they have an influence.”
This desire to have a positive affect on the world, however small, is what motivates Writer to continue painting and making art. He has moved on from garbage to murals, from a smoothie shop in South Beach to commission work and competitions in Wynwood, but his drivers remain the same. Those who don’t enjoy his work don’t bother him, even when they’re vocal about it.
“When people hate on stuff, it’s a reflection of them. Maybe they’re just mad at themselves, maybe they just haven’t gotten laid in a while,” Writer said.
Some things haven’t changed for Writer. He still lives out of his van while trying to balance his time between his nomadic lifestyle, busy painting schedule and a girlfriend. He has no desire for an apartment, job or pet that could keep him sedentary. Travel plans to escape the oppressive summer Miami heat are blooming, and Writer plans to follow them until fall returns to South Florida.
“All I ever wanted to do was travel. With everything I’ve done in my life, the poetry, the art, everything, I always wanted to do that thing as a reason to make me travel, so now I’m doing it. Now the murals are giving me the reason to travel.”