Hebru Brantley, a mixed media artist with roots in Chicago and a studio in Los Angeles, has persisted in motivating and energizing his audience. Brantley’s characters, Frogboy and Rocket were designed to convey a yearning for freedom, a stand for unity, and a will to triumph.
Brantley, who is renowned for the rich storytelling in his character-based works, draws on anime and Afro-futurism for inspiration while fusing moments from his personal life into a magical fiction story.
Brantley’s characters are directly inspired by the collective desire to reimagine what a protagonist looks like in our world, which is why Adidas was motivated to work with Brantley to develop a collection that would firmly anchor in the spirit of the times.
“Having already done one collab with Adidas and BBC a few years back, Adidas approached me again some time ago about a new collaboration with their Forum silhouette,” Brantley tells Essence.
The celebrated artist takes inspiration from the Adidas Forum High and Adidas Forum Low, bringing them to life with tongue details that feature his Frogboy and Rocket characters to dimensionalize his story of Black heroes and futurism. The sneakers include contrast lacing, hand-drawn branding on the rear quarters, graphic sock liners, and shades of Brantley’s distinctive tone, color, and palette.
“It’s me leaning into my artistic aesthetic, which happens to speak to ideas of Afrofuturism,” he explains. “It’s a process of piling up different digital images, reworking swatches and colors, and seeing what fits best for the silhouette of the shoe.”
This fall, Brantley will debut new paintings and sculptures at an exhibition in New York. “It will be new and different in the way that it doesn’t lean on familiar imagery,” he shares, “I’m excited about it.”
The Hebru Brantley x The Adidas Forum High and Low sneakers will be sold online at adidas.com.