A Chicago-based artist embellished a nondescript wall at the entrance of Atlanta’s Little Five Points neighborhood, on the corner of Moreland Avenue and Seabord. The eye-catching public art, dubbed as “significant and sizable,” is the work of Hebrú Brantley, who’s ditched the title of graffiti artist for a title more befitting an illustrator. Brantley enriched his inherent ability to design and illustrate with a media and film degree from Clark Atlanta University.
Brantley is no stranger to the southern city. He created a mural on that site years ago. When he returned to the site to perform updates to his decade-old artwork, he was actually stopped by police who thought he was vandalizing a beloved piece of public art. He also did a second piece on the side of a vacant building located at 662 Memorial Drive (Grant Park).
Brantley is recognized nationally for public works and solo shows in Chicago, and has also exhibited in Atlanta, Miami, Seattle, Los Angeles and New York. He was most recently featured in the Fountain and Pool fairs during Armory week in NYC, in March 2012.
Brantley designed Chicago’s 20th Anniversary Lollapalooza poster, created illustrations for the Tyra Banks novel Modelland, and created a wall painting in the Wynwood Arts District during Art Basel Miami in 2011. Two of Brantely’s paintings will be featured at the American Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden through 2013.
Find out what else the artist has to say. –yvette caslin
Why did you choose to do street art?
There aren’t many African American street artists [with household names]. Like every artist, singer, jazz musician, you want to have your own voice. A voice that represents my peers and culture… I don’t want anyone else to tell my story. I want to tell my own story.
How do you flesh out your vision for projects?
With everything that I do, I want to have something that relates to a broader stream of consciousness, scope and a broader people. I want to see something that represents me culturally. I’m of mixed race [African American, Latin and Irish].
When I used to live here in this area [East Atlanta], I remembered it is rich in arts. I wanted to blend the [area’s] history into the entire piece. Not arts for art’s sake, but to have some substance.
Do you travel from city to city?
Yes, I just left Cincinnati. I am headed to Miami to do a small piece, and then on to New York to do a little work there. I don’t get to do a lot of street art until it warms up. I work on other projects [in the winter] – gallery work and different shows.