Artist Cey Adams in front of his artwork in his 20 Jay Street studio. Photo: Robert Bredvad

Artist Cey Adams, the founding creative director of Def Jam Records and behind some of the world’s most popular rap album cover art, will be sharing his wisdom and artistic skills at a drink and draw workshop in DUMBO this weekend.

Adams co-founded Def Jam Records’ Drawing Board, the label’s in-house visual design firm, where he created visual identities, album covers, logos, and advertising campaigns for Run DMC, Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Notorious B.I.G., Maroon 5, and Jay-Z.

He first emerged from the downtown graffiti movement to exhibit alongside fellow artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, and appeared in the historic 1982 PBS documentary Style Wars which tracks subway graffiti in New York.

Adams draws inspiration from 60s pop art, vintage sign paintings, and comics, and focuses on themes including pop culture, brand identity, and cultural and community issues.

These days, Adams exhibits, lectures and teaches art workshops at institutions including The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, MoMA, Brooklyn Museum, Museum of the City of New York, New York University, and more.

He co-authored DEFinition: The Art and Design of Hip-Hop, published by Harper-Collins; and designed Def Jam Recordings: The First 25 Years of the Last Great Record Label, published by Rizzoli.

The weekend’s drink and draw event is taking place on the heels of the release of the Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap, curated by Adams, which chronicles hip-hop’s worldwide growth and impact stemming from NYC.

The workshop will be held at DUMBO Archway, 155 Water St, from 6:00pm to 8:00pm on August 25. Register here.


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