Every kid loves cartoons. But not every child turns that affinity into a career as illustrious as Hebru Brantley's, one of the biggest names in street art today. Hebru's love of cartoons would later extend to comic books and eventually to fine art, thanks to the influence of his mother. But when you're from Chicago, there is no way around having the culture of the city's streets, both good and bad, influence who you are as an artist and as a person.
After dabbling in the riveting yet, shall we say, "legally complicated" world of graffiti art, Hebru went to college and re-focused himself. He started exploring the legit world of street art, and creating works that are as socially conscious as they are sublime. Drawing from comic book icons and the Tuskegee Airmen alike, he has developed characters, like his now iconic "Flyboys", that offer heroic archetypes to the city's children of color.
"His stuff's set apart," says Fake Shore Drive founder Andrew Barber, "because it's taking a unique blend of street art, graffiti, and the traditional painting. And he's kind of meshed it all together and put this hip-hop spin on it."
"I have several goals," Brantley says, "but the ultimate goal is to be considered a master at my craft. That's the most important thing."
Something tells us he shouldn't worry too much.
For more on Hebru Brantley's work, check out the video above.