Debbie Millman | Audio

Cey Adams

If hip hop is the soundtrack of America, the visual language of hip hop, grounded in graffiti and wall murals, also saturates the culture. One big reason for that is Cey Adams. He starte din New York’s downtown graffiti movement of the 1970’s and 80’s and came of age along with Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. He was the founding creative director for Def Jam Recordings, and he created the visual identities for the likes of The Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, and Notorious BIG. He’s also worked on advertising campaigns for HBO, Nike, and more. Over the years he has put together an extraordinary body of work that explores brands, pop culture, race, and gender.

Debbie talks to Cey Adams about how his days writing graffiti led to a major career as a designer for hip hop acts and as an artist. “I have always been an artist my whole life. I’ve never wanted anything else. So everything was about, ‘How do you get better?’”

They also discuss his collaboration with Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer on the launch of the first ever National Mural Day in the US.

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Posted in: Design Matters

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