Cey Adams is a pioneer in the world of hip-hop graphic design. As the legendary Creative Director of Def Jam Recordings he created album artwork, logos, as well as advertising campaigns for the likes of Jay-Z, Run DMC, Beastie Boys, Notorious B.I.G., Maroon 5, and many others.
Cey launched his career as a graffiti artist in the streets of New York in the late 70s and early 80s, and had his work exhibited alongside fellow artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. Around this time, he began a long-time professional relationship with Russell Simmons, cofounder of Def Jam Records. Later, he met Adam Horovitz and began designing marketing material for the Beastie Boys. Due to their friendship, Cey has been dubbed the ‘Unofficial 4th Beastie Boy.’ He designed logos and products for The Chapelle Show, NYC’s Hot 97 radio station, Nike, Coca-Cola, and more.
The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington recently commissioned Cey to create a large-scale mural entitled One Nation, during Freedom Sounds: A Community Celebration. He designed the spectacular Def Jam Recordings: The First 25 Years of the Last Great Record Label and co-authored DEFinition: The Art and Design of Hip-Hop - the first comprehensive anthology written in the name of the genre. Bill Adler, formerly of the Boston Herald, says, “Cey’s career is a microcosm of the history of hip hop.”
Cey’s vision pushes the boundaries of art and design as it intertwines with Hip-Hop culture and society at large. His work focuses on themes including race and gender relations, cultural and community issues, and pop culture. He exhibits, lectures, and teaches art workshops at many established institutions including the MoMA, Pratt Institute, and universities nationwide. Cey lives in Brooklyn, New York where he is always creating mind-altering masterpieces.