If you've never been to Da Kandy Shop in Arlington, TX let me paint a picture for you. You're greeted by a beautiful office clerk; there's music cascading down the hallways. At the front of the building are full, blooming plants and artwork posted along the walls. There are several tattoo artists working on clients, preparing to create artwork that lasts a lifetime. Near the front of the shop beside large rectangular windows, light shines in, highlighting pieces of art sitting on a desk, painted by an up-and-coming artist that goes by IBEYB, short for "Intelligent, Bold, Young, Brother,” and his work projects just that.
IBEYB was born in the fall of 1986 in Fort Worth, Texas. He was born and raised there and his artwork began in the heart of the city.
"I grew up in Eastwood, which is a community in the inner city areas of Ft. Worth," he said. "My first introduction into art was observing my uncle and older cousin, Kenneth Buchanan draw."
Seeing his uncle draw detailed blueprints of houses and realistic animals ignited IBEYB’s imagination. At the age of eight, he began to copy and practiced the work his uncle made. It was a diverse collection from drawings of ornate detailed country homes to automobiles and rural landscapes. IBEYB credits his uncle and cousin for inspiring him to try art, but he is also influenced by the work of Pablo Picasso, Michelangelo and Ernie Barnes, widely known for his piece, “The Sugar Shack,” made famous by the television series "Good Times."
“As a child, looking at the stuff my uncle was creating was cool. It was so natural for me to do art, after practicing the craft it seemed effortless to me to imitate what my uncle created. Every time I made a new piece of artwork I noticed my progress.”
After high school, IBEYB attended Wiley College, one of 10 historically Black colleges and universities in Texas, where he further refined his craft while studying biology. Although he was a biology major, his path from medicine and research changed when he realized that the career path did not allow him the freedom he desired to express himself. However attending Wiley College did make him a more socially conscious artist because he was immersed in history whiling earning his degree.
“Attending Willey opened my eyes to so many things; the fact that the city the school is situated in used to be trading posts for slaves and now housed a historical black college was inspiring. It made me want to create art that reflected me, that reflected black history and my ancestors. I chose art over biology because art helped me become closer to myself and connect with people throughout the world,” he explained. "Art helped me love life more and gives me peace. My artwork gives me the freedom to be myself. When I started doing art in so many of its forms, I was able to express myself, express my emotions. I channel all of my energy into my artwork and nothing else at those times."
Another lesson that IBEYB learned while attending college was to stand out with his artwork as an individual. He used many of the same color schemes in his paintings, and has created a style that identifies his work as his own.
IBEYB now travels around the country doing shows that display his talents as a tattoo artist meeting people from many walks of life, and he cherishes the experiences — one of the most memorable being tattooing the aunt of Philando Castile, the school cafeteria supervisor whose life was tragically cut short when he was fatally shot by St. Anthony, Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez while the traffic stop was broadcast on Facebook Live.
"Everything that is going on in the media, social media and such makes me feel more in tune with my art, and my purpose as an artist," he explained. "For me, art is like making love to a woman, when I use my brush to mix the colors and stroke the canvas. I truly fall more in love with expressing myself."
Among his collection of work, IBEYB has many paintings that display his love for vibrant colors with both abstract and realistic styles. His piece "Broken Rose" is a collaboration of reds and blues. The hues melt in and out of the center, bringing focus to a blooming rose. For “Black Love,” a standout among his work, IBEYB opted for an oil-based medium instead of water-based to experiment. IBEYB has also done a collection dedicated to some of his favorite musicians including the late B.B. King, and was able to present his work to him personally at an event held at the B.B. King museum in Itta Bena, Mississippi before his passing.
“It was amazing to give the painting to Mr. King,” IBEYB exclaimed. “Because he was always a legend to me. His music and his journey to stardom will always be inspiring to me.”
IBEYB continues to express his emotions and inner most thoughts through his artwork. Whether he is painting to communicate heartbreak or a blissful moment; realism with a dash of abstract and vibrant colors continue to illustrate what is in his heart and on his mind.
"Art saved my life,” he admitted. “It's my peace, my counselor, and solitude in a world full of chaos. I use vibrant, bold, colors because my emotions are just that real, bold, positive and alive."
IBEYB has a secret project coming this fall; follow him on Instagram to stay updated on his work at Da Kandy Shop and his travels around the country with all of his artistic talents.
Donny is an aspiring political scientist that writes with zest and a love for life and all things creative. A Texas transplant by way of Kansas, she writes content with Midwestern flavor and a southern twist. She loves to learn, loves her kids, loves tacos, and all things spiked with a good top shelf spirit.