Hebru Brantley, nationally recognized Chicago art superstar, celebrated his birthday in grand style recently with a blow-out bash at Ultra Gallery’s Lacuna Artist Lofts (2150 S. Canalport) with 1,000 friends and fans. This birthday celebration and collector’s preview, “Downtown 88,” was hosted by Hennessey Black” and also featured music by legendary rapper Q-Tip. Hebru was joined by his model girlfriend, Angela Carrol, who never left his side. A specially made birthday cake, created to resemble Campbell soup cans was wheeled out half-way through the event as Q-Tip led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday.” Other entertainment included a stiltwalker, a woman who danced with fire-sticks and ballet dancers. Hebru was presented with a crystal bottle of Hennessy Black bearing his name which he used to toast the crowd.
Brantley is a favorite among elite art collectors and has recently had a piece purchased by Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter for a reported $25K! Swizz Beatz and Lupe Fiasco are also lovers of his work. Brantley draws influence from an array of pop culture icons, comic book heroes, Japanese anime and the bold aesthetics of street art pioneers Jean Michel Basquiat, Kaws and Keith Haring. His recent focus is to share energetic narratives, moments of reality from his life and the lives of his peers, mixed with fantastical fiction to create a fragmented environment of make-believe. Spray paint is often at the forefront of these mixed-media illustrations, working in part to “de-contextualize the levity of cartoon imagery, and bring a critical edge into the white cube.” From this, Brantley has developed his own unique style and identifies as an Afro-Futurist. His creative process is akin to free-form journaling and he uses a variety of surfaces and media including wood, spray paint, coffee and tea. His work delves into political and social issues with a conscious focus on playful insight and the optimism and possibilities of youth.
Recognized nationally for public works and solo shows in Chicago, Brantley has exhibited in San Francisco, Atlanta, Miami, Seattle, Los Angeles and New York. He was most recently the winner of the Redbull Curates Chicago contest, and exhibited at the prestigious Scope art fair last year. Brantley has been commissioned by Skyy Vodka, Nike and Tyra Banks. He created the Lollapalooza poster for the 25th anniversary of the festival, and is exhibited regularly by Tim Yarger Gallery in Beverly Hills and Kasia Kay Art Projects in Chicago.
Two of Brantley’s paintings are currently featured at the American Embassy in Stockholm through 2013. Brantley earned a B.A. in Film from Clark Atlanta University, and has a background in design and media illustration. To learn more about this amazing artist, please visit his website, www.hebrubrantley.com.
We have a legend in our midst......catch him while you can. (Photos by Onassis)