Tampa Bay Born Murals is a brand new video series from I Love the Burg and That’s So Tampa that is made possible by Neptune Flood Insurance CEO Trevor Burgess and his husband, Gary Hess, in partnership with Metro Inclusive Health. Just as the diverse palette of murals throughout the Bay highlight the colorful personality and history of the area, this series aims to shine a light on the artists who bring those works to life.
Jabari Reed-Diop, aka iBOMS., is a prolific figure in the St. Pete arts scene. His large scale mural, painted during SHINE Mural Fest 2020, adorns the side of the brand new Grand Central Brewhouse.
This mural is called Where the Bloom Begins. It’s set back from the street and takes up the right half of this west-facing wall, 30 feet high and 36 feet wide.
iBOMS creates massive murals in St. Pete
The background is a brilliant yellow. The center of the image features one of iBOMS’ signature stylized cartoon-like characters, named Ashi, a young Black male drawn from the artist’s childhood in south St. Pete. “ASHI” is written in capital letters below his left eye.
Here’s a description from SHINE Mural Fest:
Towering over the wall, his back is to us, but he looks over his left shoulder and down. His skin is greyish, with a bright red nose, pink circles on his cheeks and dark grey tattoos on his face, neck and back.
Beyond this massive mural, Jabari Reed-Diop continues to paint the African American male experience all around the ‘Burg.
Jabari’s work has been featured in the new d-Gallerie, in addition to MIZE Gallery. His show with Chad Mize completely sold out within 48 hours of its debut, by the way. Just a few select pieces remain for sale at d-Gallerie.
Painting a new narrative in the Sunshine City
His work features themes of self-love, destructions and discovery. The vibrant, alluring, and meticulously detailed works draw in myriad observers. While the works themselves are meant to be appreciated and interpreted by all, the artist himself hopes to give his community a lens into the experience of an African American male here in the Sunshine City.
He does this by painting and creating lively characters that at first glance you may not think there’s a story behind it. But like in life everything wants to appear blissful but unannounced to everyone else a dark river runs beneath the surface. It’s the iceberg theory at work.
His artistic acumen comes from personal experience and formal education at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville.
iBOMS a SHINE 2021 Bright Spot
iBOMS has garnered so much acclaim and notoriety for his work that a portrait of the artist can be seen in the alley behind the 600 Block of Central Avenue by the beloved muralist and curator Derek Donnelly.
iBOMS is creating his own narrative one mural at a time.
His work won’t end here. Reed-Diop will be a featured Bright Spots artist during the 2021 iteration of SHINE Mural Festival. He is partnering with the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority and the St. Pete Youth Farm.
They bring the “Together We Grow,” project which features a custom PSTA bus wrap designed by iBOMS and the students of The St. Pete Youth Farm. The final wrap will be revealed on October 23.
Follow iBOMS on Instagram to keep up with his latest work.
See our first interview with Tampa-based artist Nneka Jones, whose work was featured in The Washington Post, and TIME Magazine.