Cey Adams. Trusted Brands, 2015. Paper and magazines on canvas.
Trusted Brands explores icons of brands that have impacted his thinking and ideology from youth. Adams, emerged from the downtown graffiti movement and exhibited alongside fellow artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. He appeared in the historic 1982 PBS documentary Style Wars that tracks subway graffiti in New York. He was the Creative Director of Russell Simmons’ Def Jam Recordings and co-founded the Drawing Board an in-house visual design firm. He created visual identities, album covers, logos, and advertising campaigns for Run DMC, Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z and many others.
Cey Adams, a New York City native, is an icon of Hip Hop and graphic design. Trusted Brands is an exhibition of his new collage works on canvas examining branding in contemporary culture. His use of collage and design principles creates rich textures of easily recognizable logos structured along subtle grids, which are becoming comparable to his signature. Adams’ delicate technique and balanced compositions celebrate the history of graffiti, graphic design, Pop Art and Hip Hop.
He has exhibited, lectured and taught workshops at: MoMA, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Walker Art Center, MoCA Los Angeles, Pratt Institute, Howard University, High Museum, and BAM among others. He is the co-author of DEFinition: The Art and Design of Hip-Hop, published by Harper-Collins; and the designer for Def Jam Recordings: The First 25 Years of the Last Great Record Label, published by Rizzoli. Adams was also a recent Artist in Resident at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, NE.
Cey draws inspiration from 60’s pop art, sign painting, comic books, and popular culture. His work focuses on themes including pop culture, race and gender relations, cultural and community issues. Trusted Brandstransforms images and icographics that he grew up with. “These are all brands that my parents trusted and then I ended up trusting. I wanted to do something that really kind of revisits that.”