Tahir Hemphill is an award-winning advertising creative and multimedia artist working in the areas of interdisciplinary collaboration, thought and research.
Hemphill has planned strategy for businesses in the entertainment, advertising, and nonprofit industries. He has conceived and implemented design-based solutions for brands including Mercedes Benz, L’Oreal, Verizon, and Microsoft. Hemphill has been a consultant for Y&R, Publicis, Grey, Saatchi & Saatchi and Burrell Communications.
Influenced by scientific work that pushes investigation to artistic limits and artistic work that pushes repetition towards scientific method — Hemphill’s practice investigates the role systems play in the generation of form.
Hemphill produces art with tools that remove his hand from the process. His recent projects use a database of his own invention (the Rap Almanac) that analyses the language in Hiphop and allows him to draw out shapes from the data, revealing a layer of aesthetics that are music related and yet at times non-musical.
Hemphill’s artwork is featured in the Talk to Me exhibit at MoMA which explores design and the communication between people and objects. Hemphill’s work has been exhibited at Siggraph (Siggraph 2002); Queens Museum of Art (Queens International Biennial, 2002) and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (Black New York Photographers of the Twentieth Century, 1999).
Hemphill holds a B.A. in Spanish Language from Morehouse College, a Strategic Planning Certificate from Miami Ad School and a M.S. in Communications Design from Pratt Institute — where he authored and designed a treatise on the methodologies of creatives who use traditional advertising techniques to promote subversive and pro-social campaigns.
Hemphill manages the media arts education program for the Rap Research Lab — a studio for the production of creative technology projects and for the instruction of digital humanities, media criticism and data visualization, using a project based curriculum and a database that visualizes Hip-hop as a cultural indicator.
Hemphill is the 2016 Media Artist in Residence at Spotify, a 2016 resident at The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Thematic Month on Human Behavior, a 2016 member of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts YBCA 100, a 2015 Bronx Museum of Art AIM Program participant, 2012-2013 Hip Hop Archive Fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University and a 2013 Fellow at The Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University.
Currently, Tahir is managing the satellite projects (research, education, art, technology & marketing) associated with his searchable rap almanac the Hip Hop Word Count.