We recently had the opportunity to interview Fairgrounds St. Pete FLORIDARAMA Artist Jabari Reed aka iBOMS. His diorama Bleak, is aptly titled, as that’s exactly what it depicts!
A native of St. Pete, iBOMS’ practice is a mix of street art and storytelling and seeks to give meaning to the mundane and inspire viewers to look closer at situations to observe their truths and not take them at face value. Each of his artworks has a unique story and personal references. iBOMS’ work draws viewers into his world, the world of a young African American man. He does this by depicting lively characters that appear happy, but with closer examination darker themes reveal themselves in the details of the canvas.
Read on to learn more about what the experience of being part of our inaugural exhibit is like for him!
What do you want the public to take away from experiencing the FLORIDARAMA diorama you have created for Fairgrounds St. Pete?
JABARI REED: What I want the public to take away from my FLORIDARAMA is that the world that I have been developing has space. And not just any space, the kind that has living creatures that aren’t a part of the main iBOMS character line-up. There are ponds, plants and fences where there shouldn’t be fences. I also want the viewer to know that my world has a continuous playlist going that can change depending on your mood.
What about being a part of Fairgrounds St. Pete’s inaugural exhibition is most exciting to you?
JR: The most exciting part is everyone who recognizes my work amongst many other talented artists. Also, being able to casually speak about the art without viewers initially knowing who I am.
Tell us about the FLORIDARAMA that you created for Fairgrounds St. Pete.
JR: My FLORIDARAMA diorama, Bleak, is a custom-painted G scale model train car, half-submerged in water with rubber ducks swimming around it. When I completed it, it was my most complex 3D artwork to date.
What is the most significant influence in your art practice?
JR: The biggest influence in my art is cartoons; the wacky worlds that have been gifted to us, many of them are cartoons. They are able to bend in any way you need to, making communication that much more diverse.
Besides Fairgrounds St. Pete, do you have an upcoming project you’d like to share?
JR: Currently, I’m working on custom train cars for d-gallerie’s d-railed showcase that will be one of SHINE Mural Festival’s closing events.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
JR: The advice I’d give is to never choose to change how things went in the past, if you were able to. Live as you, purely, as we always have.
What is your favorite FL destination or landmark?
JR: My favorite Florida destination is the docks behind the USF St. Pete Downtown Campus.