Chicago artist Hebru Brantley is known for work that challenges traditional views and inspires change with themes of hope and optimism. His iconic Flyboy character embodies those ideals and has become a pop culture phenomenon, represented in a variety of mediums ranging from oil and canvas to public art installations.
After working with Hebru Brantley on several previous projects—including his Flyboy sculpture at the Graduate Roosevelt Island—we were thrilled to bring another giant sculpture to life.
Hebru Brantley’s next piece was to be a 16-foot-tall Flyboy sculpture, titled “The Great Debate,” to be installed at The Battery (formerly “Battery Park”) in New York City. Brantley describes Flyboy as an exploration into what a superhero character of color would look like, with signature aviator goggles serving as a tribute to the pioneering Tuskegee Airmen of WWII. In this piece, Flyboy strikes a confident pose, reminding onlookers to keep their heads high and stand firm in what they believe in, particularly during times of public debate—all qualities that needed to be supported by the use of scale and materials in the sculpture.
Flyboy was designed and fabricated in multiple pieces to allow for ease of transport and on-site assembly. We crafted the armature from steel and enclosed it in polyurea coating, sculpting to shape with advanced CNC equipment. After a test assembly at our Chicago design and fabrication studio, Flyboy was carefully disassembled, packed, shipped, and installed at The Battery in Manhattan.
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