Growing up in Bronzeville, artist Hebru Brantley focused on creativity, art, comic books and hip hop all the while avoiding the gangs and expanding his world. He would spend hours immersed in thought, a sketchbook in hand, music pulsing through his earbuds while gazing out into the expanse of Lake Michigan, one of his favorite escapes in his favorite city, Chicago.
Brantley began his career tagging the sides of abandoned buildings around the South Side before collecting his thoughts about what he saw around him every day and putting it first into a sketchbook and then on to canvas. He used spray paint, oils and acrylics to create his now iconic Flyboy character and more. He made headlines in 2012 when, after winning a coveted spot at Art Basel Miami to show his work, Jay-Z paid $20,000 for a painting, “Everyone’s Scared.” His career has since skyrocketed and has fans and followers in the likes of LeBron James, Nicki Minaj, Swizz Beatz and even Star Wars creator George Lucas and his wife, Mellody Hobson.
While Brantley, who lives in the South Loop and has his studio in Pilsen, has worked with big brands like Nike and Red Bull, has showed his work around the globe and could truly move anywhere in the world, he remains dedicated to Chicago. Brantley wants the world to know what a world-class city this is and here he tells us some of his favorite things around town — and we swear we didn’t bribe him to include The Chicago Athletic Association.
Brunch: Batter & Berries. Everything is amazing, can’t pick a favorite. 2748 N. Lincoln
Getaway: The lakefront has always been a relaxing place for me. I grew up nearby and the skyline makes it a favorite spot.
Art Spot: The Museum of Contemporary Art. I love to find inspiration in other artists. 220 E. Chicago.
Shopping: RSVP Gallery. There are so many great stores but none quite like RSVP. 1753 N. Damen.
Bar: Duseks & Punch House. Unexpected in its surroundings and great food. Favorite cocktail: The punches are great, especially during the summer. 1227 W. 18th.
Rooftop: Chicago Athletic Association has the best view in the city. Hands down. 12 S. Michigan.
Favorite bookstore: Myopic. A great place to find obscure books that they don’t have anywhere else. 1564 N. Milwaukee.