Go Brooklyn: A Campaign for ‘Fearless’ Black Legends

Brooklyn, NEW YORK—Like promotional posters for the ancestors, Adrian Franks‘s latest series pays tribute to black change makers. Called “Fearless,” the works feature a slogan that is a double entendre, meant to be read as both an adjective and as two words: “fear less.”

While most of the figures featured in the series including Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Shirley Chisholm, Sammy Davis Jr. and W.E.B. Du Bois, have passed on, a few, such as Jay-Z, continue to move the crowd. The slogan, limited color palette and repeated silhouette of entertainment and civil rights legends, help to define the works as a highly conceptual ad campaign for the fearless pursuit of breaking barriers. Which makes perfect sense, since Franks’s day job is doing creative at an advertising agency.

Franks’s work is on display in his studio at Screwball Spaces in Red Hook. He is one of hundreds of artists working throughout the Brooklyn who participated in the Brooklyn Museum’s GO Brooklyn open studios event over the weekend (Sept. 8 and 9). The community-curated project that will determine the artists chosen for a group exhibit at the museum in December.

Visit Franks’s GO Brooklyn page here.

Explore work by a selection of other artists at Screwball Spaces participating in GO Brooklyn here.

All photos © Arts Observer


A portfolio of prints in Franks studio includes Jay-Z and Malcolm X.


Martin Luther King Jr. and Sammy Davis Jr.


Prints of assassinated civil rights heroes and murdered rapper Biggie Smalls feature bullseye symbols.


Although both of these silhouettes look like they depict Biggie Smalls, the one on the left a friend of Franks and the one on the right is a self-portrait of the artist.

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