“For the last ten years, Brantley’s main character, FLYBOY, has appeared through various mediums and iterations, collaborations and merchandise … There has always been an element of mystery associated with the heroic Black wonder boy.  However, with one statement from the artist, FLYBOY’s enigmatic existence is revealed.  ‘I’m going to let you in on a secret … I am FLYBOY.’”

~ Danny Dunson, journalist, ArtX

Born in 1981 in the Bronzeville district of Chicago, Illinois, Hebru Brantley is an incredibly talented Afro-futurist.  This district is celebrated for its significance as a center of African-American culture and successful entrepreneurship during the 20th century.  Bronzeville, specifically, the South Side, would be pivotal in nurturing his creativity and, as the “Biography: Hebru Brantley” on the website of Artsy states, “expressing his active imagination and fantasies … (his) comic book-style compositions address his own experiences of African-American and urban life in America.”

Highly influenced by the historic community’s creative institutions, including the South Side Community Arts Center, and organizations, such as AfriCOBRA, Brantley became involved in graffiti as a youth.  Citing artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat as inspirations in viewing his work as valid and valuable, he was active in “taggin’” trains, walls and other surfaces throughout Chicago during the 1990s.  When reflecting on this time, in the biography on Artsy, he exclaimed, “We’d scratch-bomb trains, tag freight cars … do throw-ups across the city.  It was all about getting your name up wherever you could.”

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