Friday marks Justin Bieber's long-awaited album release. The singer, who has had his fair share of mishaps in the last few years, has finally released the much anticipated album Purpose. While it may mark a return to BIeber's good guy image, it also marks an evolution for the star. This album has an entirely different feel to it than his prior work. Not only is it a more grown up sound and feel, but Bieber has a made a point to create an artistic evolution with this project. Fans first noticed that the cover, which was released via Instagram collage, has the star with a strange symbol resembling an asymmetrical cross with a small circle attached covering the entire background and painted on his torso (image below). Bieber commissioned LA street artist Retna to create the cover art for his album. But the question on many fans' minds now is: Who is Retna, and what does Bieber's Purpose symbol mean?
For starters, Retna specializes in ancient style calligraphy, and his work can be seen throughout LA. Bieber and Retna also seem to have a close companion in common — Usher. While neither Bieber or Retna have spoken out about a specific meaning behind the cover art, it hasn't stopped them from sharing it across social media. When anyone even uses #Purpose on Twitter, it automatically produces the symbol in your post.
There has been a lot of speculation about a religious meaning behind the symbol since the artist is so open to sharing about his faith. According to Daily Mail, the art has been deemed too provocative to be sold in many middle eastern countries. Especially considering that the symbol slightly resembles a cross, and Justin's pose could be as a stance of prayer and worship. The singer has said that this album is about hope and faith, which is what got him through the past couple of years.
Although, this could be a case of Bieber trying to go for an edgier and more artistic vibe this time around, especially considering this isn't the only piece of artwork that has been produced for the album. Bieber had graffitti artists across the globe create art pieces with the names of each track on the album, and released the photos on social media as well. Each track is represented by a different city all the way from Atlanta to London. We may never know the full truth behind the ever elusive Purpose cover art, but one thing is for sure, this album is a work of art.