Expressing his active imagination and fantasies, Hebru Brantley’s comic book-style compositions address his own experiences of African American and urban life in America. Having grown up tagging trains, walls, and other city surfaces as part of the 1990s graffiti scene, Brantley now creates mixed-media paintings and sculptures that aptly reflect the street’s energy and aesthetic.
Hebru Brantley creates narrative-driven work revolving around his conceptualized iconic characters which are utilized to address complex ideas around nostalgia, the mental psyche, power, and hope. The color palettes, pop-art motifs, and characters themselves create accessibility around Brantley’s layered and multifaceted beliefs. Majorly influenced by the South Side of Chicago’s Afro Cobra movement in the 1960s and 70s, Brantley uses the lineage of mural and graffiti work as a frame to explore his inquiries. Brantley applies a plethora of mediums from oil, acrylic, watercolor and spray paint to non-traditional mediums such as coffee and tea. Brantley’s work challenges the traditional view of the hero or protagonist and his work insists on a contemporary and distinct narrative that shapes and impacts the viewer’s gaze.