The artist behind Hanksy has added to the cultural zeitgeist of street art since 2011, producing playful, pun-centric work that utilize humor as a lighthearted tactic of subversion. In 2016, he started concurrently making a different kind of art under another name—Adam Lucas.
The work of Adam Lucas layers images, text and bold design with playfully acerbic references culled from contemporary culture. Using a loud and elegant color chord, Lucas simulates the experience of being a city-dweller who’s inundated with visual information and coded advertising subtext. His design—blunt, forthright and at—is a nod to the synthetic Cubists; however, calibrated to express the distinctive urban street life and popular culture in America. Lucas’ painted worlds possess a density that is both visual and auditory: on the one hand, they pulsate with sounds and rhythms, as if echoing an encounter with music. On the other hand, with their unmodulated colors bound by crisp borders, his paintings allude to the way our eyes absorb the sleek advertising aesthetic that’s secretly pervasive in our daily lives.
It is this last piece—the recognition and re- appropriation of culture and its advertising— that tethers Lucas’ work to Hanksy’s celebrated puns. The aesthetic end results might look different; however, both factions of the artist’s oeuvre reveal work that is at once bright, with rhythmic beats and opportunity for visual play, but also couched in weightier, trenchant themes.