Adrian Franks’ imagination has been running wild since he was six-years-old. But it wasn’t until he was a pre-teen that he realized his fascination with science and creativity was a perfect combination. The award-winning artist who was bred in Atlanta is “living in the republic of Brooklyn New York City” making creations to magnify societal issue and spur change.
“I thought I was going to be a scientist but then I found out ‘I know how to draw, I know how to think, I know how to create something.’ I decided at age 10, ‘I’m going to be an artist’,” Franks recalls his childhood revelation. “From that moment to now, 28 years later, you can say that I have been on a creativity journey.”
He believes traveling and lifelong learning are integral. “I think those type of things really inform the work. I am a learned man and a traveled man, so for me that’s fundamental for being a great artist,” says Franks.
“My goal is to put a lens on the issue and get people to ask why does this continue to happen.”
For Franks, many artists’ creativity is rooted in the social landscape. The profundity of their work lies in the message in addition to its appeal.
“Artists have always been the people who inform the people. They are artists of their time. They have always been influencers and they let the people know what’s going on,” Adrian Franks explains.
“I love the Jacob Lawrences, the Romare Beardens, those guys actually stood for something. They actually went back to the community, gave their talent and pulled the stories from the community to create their work. The Paul Rands, the Milton Glaciers, the Frank Gehrys of the world – these modern day creators, artists and designers are also people who influence me.
“When you look at Lawrence’s Toussaint series, he reminded us of what was going on at the time. He put the lens on the scenario. Revolution happened. These guys wanted change and fought for change. Ultimately, they got the change. It may not have a happened how they wanted it to, but it happened. For me, it’s kind of the same thing. You have police brutality, black-on-black crime, gun violence and just overall violence that really rip the community apart. My goal is to put a lens on the issue and get people to ask why does this continue to happen. Why aren’t we doing anything about it? Are these people actually humans who lost their lives? Who are the people that killed them because that was another human that did that? It isn’t like these things happen naturally … same thing during the revolts back in Haiti. These are humans fighting for humans and having major issues so I say the ask is to understand what’s going on and question why these things are happening in the first place?”