Hebru Brantley's trip to
A mutual friend had introduced the hip-hop icon and entrepreneur to Brantley's work and set up a meeting between the two Dec. 9. Brantley brought with him the piece he felt
"It talks about certain underlying fears in the human psyche," said Brantley, 31, of "Everyone's Scared" Wednesday over the phone. "Some of us are not allowed to be honest with ourselves and are supposed to project ourselves in a certain way. As an African-American artist, I always want to be accepted within the contemporary African-American community. In the back of my mind I'd think, 'If I paint this way, how will it be perceived? Will they get it?' 'Everyone's Scared' was the first time for me as an artist where I sort of threw all that away to create free of worry, or how it'll be perceived. Jay-Z appreciated the story behind it. It resonated with him."
Jay-Z purchased the piece for $20,000, according to the New York Post, posing for a photo with Brantley that the artist posted on Instagram once he was on his flight. By the time he turned his phone back on in Chicago, Brantley said everyone and their mother had heard about it.
Brantley's latest solo art show, Brothers of the Robbing Hood, is taking place at Lacuna Artist Lofts in
"It was surreal," Brantley said of the meeting. "I'm a huge Jay-Z fan. I've been listening to him since high school. I'm a kid from the South Side of Chicago. My friends and I used to ride around in the car listening to Jay-Z and knew every lyric, and now I'm talking to him as an equal. I don't get starstruck, but everybody has that certain person on their list."
Help wanted: Spike TV's "Ink Master" will hold a casting call for highly skilled tattoo artists Jan. 25 at the Westin
For more celebrity news and sightings in Chicago, go to chicagotribune.com/luis