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Art Cast

Cey Adams

Art Cast
Series 3 Episode 7: Cey Adams


Art Cast is a podcast series of informal discussions with professional artists and designers, presented by Matt Gee, Programme Area Manager of Fine Art, joined by students from Morley College London – Chelsea Centre. For this episode, Matt is joined by Cey Adams.


Cey Adams is a graffiti artist who began from the late 70s to the early 80s. He attended the School of Visual Arts in New York, and his work was exhibited alongside Jean Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. In 1982, he was featured in the PBS documentary Style Wars about subway graffiti in New York. In 1983, he formed a close relationship with the Beastie Boys and designed their 12″ single cover for Cooky Puss. He also worked with Russell Simmons’ Rush Artist Management to create logos, tour merchandising, and advertising campaigns for rap artists. In the late 80s, Adams and his partner Steve Carr co-founded The Drawing Board, an in-house visual design firm for Def Jam Recordings that oversaw the visual style of their artists. Adams went on to create corporate advertising campaigns for companies such as Levi’s, Nike, HBO, Coca-Cola, Burton Snowboards, Moët & Chandon, Comedy Central, HBO, and Warner Bros.


Cey Adams has had a long, successful career as a designer and artist, creating logos and branding for many different companies and music artists including the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Jay Z and Mary J Blige. He was the founding Creative Director of Def Jam Records.


Having previously designed clothes for Run DMC for Adidas, in 2006 he was commissioned to design his own custom track suits and sneakers featuring Beastie Boys. He was also commissioned to do a mural for the National Urban League conference and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and collaborated with Brooklyn Arts Council in 2015. He also did a project with photographer Janette Beckman and created a limited edition run of 500 clothing pieces for the launch of Levi’s new store in Times Square. His work is known for its themes of pop culture, race and gender relations, and cultural and community issues.