The Art and Influence of Hip Hop

The Art and Influence of Hip Hop

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 67. "Fifty Plus" original watercolor illustration by Dan Lish, 2021 .

Dan Lish

"Fifty Plus" original watercolor illustration by Dan Lish, 2021

Lot Closed

March 30, 05:07 PM GMT


10,000 - 15,000 USD

Lot Details


"Fifty Plus," 2021

Watercolor, ink, and wash on 350 weight paper, signed and dated at lower right "Dan Lish 21," 27¾ by 39¼ in. (71 x 99 cm.), in overall excellent condition.


Combining his passion for Hip Hop, love for its creators, and his own artistic mastery, Dan Lish executes intricately beautiful and often dream-like drawings that celebrate legendary figures in the industry. His work has been supported by numerous artists and notable figures such as DJ Prince Paul, Biz Markie, De La Soul, Raekwon, J. Period, Pos, Rakim, Large Professor, RZA, Diamond D, Cypress Hill, Goldie, J-Dilla Foundation, Lee Scratch Perry, Dave Chapelle, and Pharoahe Monarch with J. Live writing the forward for his first book, Egostrip Book 1.

In the current lot, Fifty Plus, Lish depicts some of the most legendary producers in Hip Hop including The Alchemist, Madlib, DJ Premier, Dr. Dre, Marley Marl, RZA, Questlove, J Dilla, Jazzy Jay, DJ Muggs, Hank Schoklee, Prince Paul, among others. (The final image in the carousel associated with this work is a guide to identifying all "fifty plus" producers). In his own words, Lish describes the process for creating his beautifully rendered and stimulatingly graphic work below:

"Since 2017, I had the idea of creating an illustration as an ode to my favorite Rap Music Producers. After discussing with knowledgeable friends, I soon realized the painting would involve many more characters than I'd initially envisioned. This number grew to over sixty producers. Because of my age and epoch of listening, the artists were from the 1980s to the late 1990s.

I then had the idea of an apple blossomed tree, with the characters as Flower Fairies, acting as a metaphor for the flowering of inspiration and musical emotion. I was Inspired by my Childhood appreciation of Jill Barklem's Brambley Hedge books and Faeries by Brain Fraud and Alan Lee. A common thread to my illustration regarding Hip Hop is to focus on the human journey of creativity and the mystery of human consciousness and the unseen Universe." (Dan Lish)

Dan Lish has been a lead concept artist in the video game industry for over 20 years and has worked across a broad spectrum of other entertainment mediums, including comic and book illustrations, album cover art, and toy design. Born in the English town of Bury St. Edmunds Suffolk, Dan fell in love with Hip Hop in the early 1980s as a b-boy, graffiti writer, and later a D.J. for pirate radio stations and night clubs in and around the south coast of England. Having dual nationality, Lish re-located to New York City in the late 1990s, where he deepened his love for Hip Hop culture. 


He most recently completed a crowdfunded campaign that successfully launched his first artbook, Egostrip Book 1, a compendium of Hip Hop illustrations in chronological order, and is currently working on Book Two. 

The Egostrip Project was born out of Dan's black book drawings of his favorite Hip Hop musicians that he would create while commuting on the busy London tube. Putting pen to paper, Dan's elbow rocked back and forth in tandem with his fellow travelers, creating a unique, organized chaos that came to life in each drawing. Back in his studio, Dan would scan each drawing and color them digitally to add texture, tone and details. This stage brought the original pen drawings to life, adding a depth and richness to each work. Dan describes the project as "a passion and a meditative therapy for years of working the other end of a busy train ride, which now feels a world away." 


Courtesy of the artist

Condition Report:

To request a condition report for this lot, please contact