Hebru Brantley (featured here) is well known for his pop-infused paintings and sculptures of child-like heroes inspired by Japanese anime and graffiti. Growing up in Chicago in the midst of gang culture, Brantley has expressed that “when all else failed, I could turn to art”, turning his reality into a fantasy world. He is constantly looking to create imagery that evokes emotion and tells stories, particularly of youth. Having traveled all over the world to exhibit his art, he is now making his Pittsburgh debut with “I Wish I Knew How It Felt to Be Free”.
Often depicted as bored, restless youngsters, Hebru Brantley’s solitary heroes exist between two worlds: their mundane realities and their boisterous imaginations, which Brantley depicts as a cacophony of black-and-white characters and scribbled text. Sometimes the imaginary layer of the work is kept to a quiet whisper, and other times it takes over the entire canvas and we know we are in the land of make-believe. There is a sense of naïveté in Brantley’s characters that evokes the child-like beings of Yoshitomo Nara. Like Nara, Brantley’s work appears flat at a first glance, but is executed with painterly, thick brushstrokes that add a sense of depth and dimension. Having exhibited extensively throughout the US, the artist recently unveiled his UK debut, “Everyone’s Everything” at Mead Carney Fine Art in London. At their core, the paintings in the exhibition are a love letter to the imagination, and an invitation for the viewers to tap into a childlike sense of wonder in themselves.
Miami Art Week welcomed a new fair last week that went against the norm in support of its exhibiting artists. No Commission Art Fair, curated by Grammy Award-winning recording artist and producer Swizz Beatz, provided exhibition space in Wynwood to emerging artists at no cost and with artists keeping 100% of their sales. An avid contemporary collector, Swizz Beatz is no stranger to the art scene, whose namesake “The Dean Collection” drew crowds at SCOPE Miami Beach last year. No Commission was coupled by some of the week’s best parties, dubbed the “Untameable House Party”, from musical artists Swizz Beatz, his wife Alicia Keys, DMX, Wiz Khalifa, and Pusha T. As for the art, there were several new and impressive sized works on display by artists like Dustin Yellin, Hebru Brantley, Kehinde Wiley, Miss Van, Gregory Siff, Gabriel Dawe, Hyon Gyon, and Tomokazu Matsuyama, among many others featured in the pages of Hi-Fructose.
The recent Vision Art Festival, held in the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana in Canton Valais, has taken the street art scene to new heights. A few years ago, a couple of young art enthusiasts from the region had a twisted idea to bring street artist to Swiss alps – on the lift stations, shelters, and restaurant buildings around the ski slopes. After last year’s “test event”, which produced a mural by Icy & Sot and Hebru Brantley, the local community accepted the idea and the long preparations begun. On August 24th, Vision Art Festival 2015 officially opened, hosting an impressive lineup of international artists: Chor Boogie, Reka One, Okuda, 2Alas, Greg Mike, Angry Woebots, Leza One, Rustam Qbic, Toz, Rodrigo Branco, Never Crew, and more.
Last Saturday, San Francisco’s 941Geary opened an eclectic group show that touched on personal subjects while apprehending globalization. Curated by Tova Lobatz, “While We Were Away” features artists discovered on the curator’s travels and is a testament to the global art community’s interconnectedness. From the Op Art-influenced portraiture of Italian stencil art pioneers Sten Lex to Vhils’ intricate reflections of urban life (featured in HF Vol. 23) to Miss Van‘s dark renderings of seduction (HF Vol. 15), the show features impressive original pieces from a wide range of international artists. Open suitcases are displayed throughout the gallery filled with mementos and historical tidbits — stencils, train tickets, pamphlets — some of the artists collected while traveling. Take a look at our exclusive opening night photos after the jump.