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Tech-augmented iBOMS art exhibit opens tonight

Bill DeYoung



Jabari Reed, 22, creates under the name iBOMS. Photos by Bill DeYoung.


Combining art with technology is nothing new; sometimes it’s just about getting the lighting exactly right. And the viewer’s perception of the art in question is, of course, up to the viewer, no matter how many bells, whistles or QR codes are attached.

Still, the exhibit opening today at D-Gallerie (1234 Dr. MLK Jr. Street N) might be the envelope-pusher. Xebra collects approximately 30 works by Jabari Reed, the young St. Pete artist and muralist who works under the name iBOMS.

Xebra pairs the works with the PixelStix app, to provide the viewer with details – direct from the artist himself.

Mounted alongside each canvas is a plate containing a QR code. Anyone who’s downloaded the free PixelStix app can access, though the code, a written “explanation” of the piece, in iBOMS’ own words.

RELATED STORY: Introducing artist Jabari Reed, aka iBOMS

Two 4×8 foot murals are embedded with special technology that, through the app, will trigger a series of videos depicting Reed/iBOMS at work.

The canvases, some as large as 4×4, explore the 22-year-old painter’s favorite themes – conscious vs. subconscious, the supernatural, life and death, the environment, duality, Biblical and Buddhist references and, well, the inexplicable. “It comes from mixing spirituality and cartoons,” Reed says. “That’s as close to it as I can get.”

He was glad, he adds, that D-Gallerie owner Alejandro Quintero and PixelStix founder Matthew Walker approached him with the idea.

“Right now, you hear a lot about NFTs, you hear a lot about that Metaverse space …” Reed explains. “I’m a little bit late getting in to the game because I’m a traditional painter. Having the technology being embedded – at my own risk – is a safe passageway to that next world.”

“Guardian Angel”

During a tour of the exhibit, Reed tells the Catalyst what each piece means to him. They have titles like “Global Blooming,” “The Awareness of Infinity,” “Two Birds One Stone,” “Blood Moon,” “Guardian Angel” and “Meet Joe Black.”

Standing before a dynamic red-and black mural called “Firewall,” the artist says: “I get to the point where I think I’ve figured out the universe, but there’s always this wall that keeps you from knowing what happens after death. You can’t know it, because you’re alive.

“So there’s this firewall, this defense, that pushes you back into reality. And it’s kind of like, you have no choice but to respect its power.”

Business has been good for the imaginative Reed, one of the city’s most promising young painters (the app will also take potential buyers to a purchase platform, should they desire).


For Reed, “I think the next step is learning how to budget. The art is one thing, but learning how to use all of the stuff that you get from it, in the real world, as an adult, is the next thing.”

Yes, he’s talking about money. “If I can secure myself in that sense, I’ll have even more freedom to create.”

Walker, who created PixelStix four years ago and has integrated the technology into many of the SHINE murals around downtown St. Pete, believes its brand of augmentation can only bolster the art-appreciating experience. “You’re got people in St. Pete that are trying to ride that wave of progression in the art movement, and that’s just exciting and fun to be a part of,” he explains. “Supporting Jabari, and having a chance to kind of elevate his art and his story is a fun thing to do.”

Xebra is a new fun run for Walker’s technology. “We’ve been activating murals for years with different stories, and this is the very first time that we’ve considered doing it inside an inside space, as part of a gallery. It was really just a way to support Jabari in a way that we were just inspired about.”

Reed says he hopes this showcase of his work will inspire visitors. “Certain people are able to feel what’s happening in the bigger brain, in the bigger consciousness,” he declares. “When you feel that, it’s your duty to speak about how you feel inside. Don’t make it seem like it’s a selfish decision, because there’s other people out there that are just like you.

“So Xebra is speaking for the herd. So people can come and feel like they’re a part of the herd. That they’re not alone.”

RSVPs are required for tonight’s opening reception (6-9 p.m.) Click here.

D-Gallerie website.

From left: PixelStix founder Matthew Walker, Reed, D-Gallerie owner Alejandro Quintero.












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