Jabari Reed (iBOMS) on Ego Death

January 18, 2020 | By Victoria Jorgensen

Through January 24
Mize Gallery

“… my transition from being an activist to being a philosopher…”
Jabari Reed (IBOMS)
. . .

iBOMS at the Mize Gallery

At 21, Jabari Reed, the artist known as iBOMS, turned himself inside out to create the work for his new show Ego Death at Mize Galleries.

After an enormously successful show at The Factory, which virtually sold out, his outer world transformed from his immediate surroundings to new environments. He himself metamorphosed from the physical to the transendental. During this journey, his storytelling prowess expanded along with his soul.

These new works represent the artist’s spirit coming of age – enjoying the treasures of success while keeping the ego in check. 2020 was a year of extreme change.

What IBOMS has to say. . .

About the show

It started when I lost control of my internal emotions and it wasn’t anything I did deliberately. It was kind of like one of those freak things that happened in the universe. I just so happened to be a focal point of it. It shattered what I once believed to be true about my emotions and like how you fall for certain people, fall in love with people.

I didn’t understand what was going on. Then I got insight on what was going on and it gave me a place to reference to understand why I went through what I went through.

A lot of things I was creating before were talking about the outside world or the world that was in my vicinity and not so much me. . . Well, I am always changing.

Ego Death Wall

Ego Death Character

This was very first piece I made for the show – this is my character, Ego Death. He represents the more spiritual, more enlightened, emotionally connected side of me.


This character is the more human side of everything, the more earthly bound. He has on clothing, he has a personality beyond who he is by himself. He has an outer exterior, so that’s the ego.

Ego Work

I felt accomplished when I created this piece. I was definitely outside of the realm that I created (in) the other works. . . 

For this one it was using this new character that was a new approach and that was with the clouds in the background, because I don’t ever do anything like realistic kind of painting. One day I saw those clouds and it just spoke to me for some reason and I had to paint it and put it into the picture.

I felt this would have been the best one to really make people look at this character and like, oh, wow! This is something different. He’s bringing something new to the table.

Ultra Light Being CU
Ultra Light Being

Ultra Light Being

Visually putting into painting what ego death means on a spiritual level, that’s why I use the character Ego Death in this one, because it’s his domain.

You can take it either way he’s either being retracted up to the sky or descending down. He has these different soul effects coming out of him. There’s one that’s going up and there’s one that’s going down.

Ego death is something that happens when all the things that you represent as yourself here in this life are stripped away and you’re nothing but the purest form that you’d ever be – the astral body, basically capturing the moment in a painting.

Be Kind to Yourself

Be Kind to Yourself

This piece was born out of the title I got the title first. One day I was speaking to Zulu Painter outside of the studio. I was talking about something I was doing and I was doing it repeatedly, knowing that it was hurting me or causing some sort of anxiety. And I was like, why don’t I just learn to be kind to myself?

Then I stopped talking and it hit me. If this behavior was coming from someone else I wouldn’t be taking it.

Butterscotch Memories

Butterscotch Memories

Dating back from my childhood, starting with my fascination with candy. This is when I used to go to my grandmother’s house and she had the crystal jars with all of the butterscotch candy in it. Every time I would get a piece of butterscotch candy, it would just like light my world on fire it was just so amazing. I don’t know, I felt like it was grown-up candy.

I adore the way tags look but I am not a graffiti writer – I haven’t practiced how to do it but I know how it looks and I know how to mimic things a lot. So this is like my own interpretation of what a tag is.

A Promising Domain

A Promising Domain

I’ve always done 3D work but once
I got better equipment and better materials I kind of branched
away from that because I was using that style because I didn’t have anything else to use. I’d just find anything and put it on a canvas or make a canvas out of it and just paint on top of it.

This piece didn’t start off like this, it was going to be a piece talking about the character Mammy Two Shoes off of Tom and Jerry. This was during my transition from being, guess you could say, an activist to being a philosopher in a way. . .  leading onto that path.

That design I wasn’t feeling it. It felt like it was forced, it didn’t feel like it was my voice that was saying it.

It sat in my corner for almost an entire year of 2020. When the show came up, I said this is a really cool door, I put time and work into this piece, let’s turn it into something. The doorway right before you step into that ascension, almost like that doorway I didn’t know I walked through when I was changing up my style.

It’s not something to be afraid of, which is why I didn’t use yellow. It’s like one of the only pieces that has this orange thing on it. I wanted it to register as something to be cautious of but not something to be fearful of. It is something you need to take with respect because something intense is on the other side.

Star Gazing

Star Gazing

I love this one, because there is a real life event attached to it.

I had created a piece a while ago, it had a tree with two characters hugging each other. That piece was like that emotion attached to me that wasn’t my choice. The girl that I was involved with at that time. That piece was about her.

She was at my studio one day and we were both looking at the art piece and I was explaining it to her. I was telling her a poem that I wrote to go with the piece. While we were sitting there, the piece almost started to speak to us. I’m the one who created it and it was like while I was sitting there all this energy was coming off it.

For a moment, it literally felt like we were looking beyond the piece. We were standing up but she said it felt like we were laying down on the ground.

When she said that, my feet felt weightless and all of my weight shifted to the back of my body while we were standing up against the wall. I was like, this is amazing. This really feels like we’re looking at the stars.

Star Gazing is also when I got a new phone I started taking pictures of flowers and different little things on the ground. I started to realize the more you look at the ground, the more you see about the stars above, the more you can see about the universe. When you pay attention to the littlest things about it.

When you find something in reality that you can look at and you can see the stars in the universe you found something special.

iBOMS – Jabari Reed

Getting Paid to Create

Actually, it gives me more fuel to create what the heart is telling me to create. Because before, I was only creating to bring the money in, now the money is coming just because people love the things that I have to say in my pieces.

I am more enthusiastic about making the piece even more identical to what I’m feeling at the time and putting more meaning into it.

Working On A Deadline

A lot of the show was done in the eight days after I returned from my trip to Washington State, just before the show opened. Two months prior, I started with backgrounds – had them figured out, I just didn’t know what to put on top of them.

While I was in Washington, I would sketch and write down different things that would come to me. Once I got back, it was all about putting the pieces onto the canvases and creating in this bubble of time I knew was running out, which gives even more fuel to create crazy stuff and challenge myself.

Spirituality – Christ Consciousness

Somewhere I heard the statement, “nothing is more important than everything.”

I was talking to Chris Parks (Pale Horse) at the gallery before setting up. When you break a reality by saying a certain phrase and it’s undeniably true, it’s hard to find things are undeniably true, that you can’t combat. . .

The gist of where I’m headed is transformation and self-awareness. Keep yourself in check, stay on your path but looking at everything on either side of the path as you’re going along.

New Studio

It helps being able to go to a bigger brain, basically. I only have so much space in my head and having a space that is mine, I can sit there and unlock the key and let everything just explode out inside of there. It’s been a sanctuary, honestly!

. . .

iBOMS’ work is also available online at D-Gallerie. He’s also one of 60 participating artists at the upcoming
Fairgrounds Diorama in St.
Petersburg’s Warehouse Arts District.
. . .

thisisiboms.com  |  @i.b.o.m.s


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