Adam J. Kurtz, P.O. Box 550, Brooklyn, NY 11211
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Adam J. Kurtz, ADAMJK, Adam Kurtz
Photo by Daniel Seung Lee


Adam J. Kurtz (aka @adamjk) is an artist and author whose illustrative work is rooted in honesty, humor and a little darkness. His books have been translated into over a dozen languages and his “very personal” work for clients like Strand Bookstore and Urban Outfitters has been featured in the New Yorker, VICE, Adweek and more.

Kurtz speaks frankly about the channeling emotion and the creative process, delivering keynote lectures to audiences including Adobe 99U Conference, HOW Design Live, and OFFF. His latest book, Things Are What You Make of Them is a handwritten essay collection that digs into the realities of creative entrepreneurship. It is available now from Penguin Random House.


I call myself an artist because nobody has time for my multi-hyphenate reality. I’m a designer-author-illustrator-creativedirector-writer-smallpress-brand??? Many people just call me ADAMJK, the name of my a gift product line and like, my username. In addition to my personal and freelance work, I also write a Design*Sponge column, host a weird little Skillshare course, and speak “candidly” to students and professionals about channeling emotion into original creative work.

My design and illustration embraces the world with optimism… and a dark sense of humor. I’m truly interested in the ephemera of daily life and creating honest, accessible work. But more than anything I like to have fun, even if I’m part of the joke.

I’ve previously held creative positions at Barton F. Graf, BuzzFeed, and others. I earned my BFA in Visual Arts/Design from UMBC in 2009. I’m originally from Toronto and I love bread.

Select Press & Interviews:

Clients include: Adobe, Brooklyn Public Library, Facebook, General Mills, L’Oreal, Instagram, Michelle Branch, the New York Times, the New Yorker, Penguin Random House, Pepsi, Sharpie, Strand Bookstore, T-Mobile, Tumblr, Urban Outfitters, Warner Music Group