|Jean-Michel Basquiat, inspiration for Brantley|
Brantley went off to college to study film, but dislikes the lack of creative freedom that was allotted in the industry. In an act of defiance and desperation, he began sneaking into classes at the Art Institute of Atlanta. It was here that he learned of artists outside of the street art movements. He sold his first work in 2002 which prompted him focusing solely on art as a career.
Basquiat's influence in still seen in Brantley's work through significant influence from African American culture and a realistic portrayal of urban living, but now with a focus on Chicago. Notably, some of his painting also have a pop art feel inspired by none other than Andy Warhol. Additionally, he no longer identifies his motivation as extrinsic, but rather aims to tell a story than to compete with his peers. He hopes that his street art can help to inspire and motivate youth to look more into art and other artists. A few of his popular works are below:
Brantley's works can be most easily identified in they contain his iconic character, Fly Boy. Fly boy has graced walls, canvases and sculptures. This character has become associated with the city of Chicago, further showing the significance Brantley has on the city and the city has had on his art.
Hebru is quickly becoming a favorite artist among musicians such as Jay Z. Brantley actually credits music as playing a large role in his creative process. He describes himself as energy driven and considers the music to help shape the tone of each piece. In a sense he lets the music take control and almost "zones out" during the middle of his work, allowing his subconscious to mingle with the music.
Brantley has also done several collaborations with others artists from various backgrounds. Perhaps the most well known was for Chance the Rapper's "Angels" music video. Throughout the video, Chance personifies the Fly Boy character. The animation done throughout the video is from Hebru Brantley's Studio and the video was directed by Austin Vesely, a long time friend of both Brantley and Chance. These three Chicago artists were able to come together and create something iconic and uplifting for the city. This ability to work with others is a strength of Brantley's and there is no doubt that the impact of Chance's works has shaped some of his art due to his use of music throughout his creative process.