Edited by Rachel Jones

Cities aren’t just places we live, they’re places that inspire us. See how physical structures, unique cultures, and community-centric feelings had an impact on these three artists.

Hebru Brantley

Photographs by Michael Fornataro

In the same vein as the murals of the Afro Cobra movement of the ‘60s and ‘70s, Chicago native Hebru Brantley strives to create big, beautiful works that offer hope and positivity in a similar manner. His pieces often include youthful characters that add a narrative element to his work. Brantley notes the characters help him address difficult situations and hardships in a more manageable and relatable manner. With public works and solo shows everywhere from London to Los Angeles, Brantley’s latest creation is a large-scale mural in Wilkinsburg — on a space generously donated by Wilkinsburg native Bill McDonough. “It gives the community something to connect with,” Brantley says. “The mural in Wilkinsburg will be a ‘Flyboy’ flying. It is important to me to depict a black kid traveling safely through the city. Flyboy is a symbol of what it means to fly in your imagination and community. This idea is carried out through murals all over, from Atlanta to LA to Chicago. I am excited to work with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust again and to add Pittsburgh to the list.” hebrubrantley.com.

Hebru Brantley, Flyboy, Spraypaint on Brick, 2017

Seth Clark

Photograph from Rob Larson

After receiving his Bachelors of Fine Arts in graphic design from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2008, Seth Clark moved to Pittsburgh and began a series of collage works. Utilizing his ambitious paper layering process, Clark’s artwork has been exhibited at The Carnegie Museum of Art, The Westmoreland Museum of American Art, the Pittsburgh Biennial at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, the Butler Museum of Art, and more. His work also received three Design Excellence Awards from the AIGA Pittsburgh, Best in Show at Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, the Irene Pasinski Sailer Award, the Irving B. Gruber Award, and was a Flight School Fellow. In 2015, Clark was named “Emerging Artist of the Year” by The Pittsburgh Center of the Arts, and he began experimenting with alternative materials to create three-dimensional artwork. Most recently, Clark’s artwork was featured in Art on Paper during The Armory in New York City and Aqua Art Miami during Art Basel Miami Beach. sethsclark.com.

Seth Clark, Collapse XXII, Collage on Panel, 48” X 72”, 2015

Michael Williams

Photograph from Bryan Conley/Carnegie Museum of Art

Doylestown, Pa., native Michael Williams has garnered a reputation for creating pieces that “explore the role of the painter as an observer.” Through the use of airbrushing and inkjet printing, Williams paints layered, eye-popping pieces that have been exhibited widely at institutions and venues in North America and Europe. Recently, the Washington University graduate presented solo exhibitions at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; Gladstone Gallery in Brussels, Belgium; and Galerie Eva Presenhuber in Zurich, Switzerland. He’s also been a part of group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the Exner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio; and the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow, Russia. Currently, his newest paintings and a series of drawings, curated by Eric Crosby, will be on display at the Carnegie Museum of Art as part of the museum’s Forum Series. Check out Michael Williams, on display through August 27. cmoa.org/exhibition/michael-williams

Michael Williams, Permanent Green, oil and enamel on canvas, 2017

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