The Artist Known As Chi | Motivated, Caregiving and Multidisciplinary Artist Chikadibia Ebirim

by JoAnna LeFlore

June 19, 2018


It’s not often that you will see a tall kid with a curly afro handing out hugs to strangers. Making every moment a special and memorable one is the intention for multidisciplinary artist Chikadibia Ebirim, Chi for short. He is 24 years young with a mile of emphatic joy to share with the people he comes in contact with. Chi currently operates out of his studio as a 2018 fellow at the Union for Contemporary Arts. Passionately, he shares with us how important is it to truly maximize creative talent while serving others throughout his practice.

“My first form of expressing myself through music was beatboxing. I've been making clicking noises in rhythmic patterns since I was in diapers or I would be banging on my toy box like a drum set. I give praise to Buffett middle school, 7th grade, multimedia class. That school changed my life, because they taught kids how to use Garageband and iMovie. Around the same time my mother purchased a Macbook pro from Steve Jobs. At this point I always had access to make the movies that I always wanted to make. That was 2007, 11 years ago.”

Photo Credit: Joshua Foo

Photo Credit: Joshua Foo

Humbly, Chi never denies the origin of his inspiration even stemming from his childhood being the grandson of Tom Palmerton. Although a different medium, the tenacity is appreciated nonetheless offering a desire of fortitude for Chi in his emerging years.

“Creativity does run throughout my family. My grandfather (on my mother's side) probably being the most successful artist so far. His most famous piece would definitely be his bronze sculptures of gorillas at the Henry Doorly Zoo.”

“My mother has also been one of my biggest inspirations. She was my navigator (besides GOD and self) for understanding my true talents. My parents introduced me to Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, and Prince. The three artists changed my life forever,” Chi says.

But the influence to create didn’t stop in middle school. Chi found a love for not only music, but visual art including digital art, photography, video and more recently fashion.

JoAnne Leflore: We notice you started this brand of clothing during your fellowship. Everything you wear now is branded with “Chi”. Can you tell us more about how this project got started? 

Chi: “I've always wanted to pursue a proper outlet for clothing since I was about 11 or 12 years young. I started drawing minimal clothes and shoes in Omaha Home for Boys when I had free time. Being the first three letters of my name and that it represents my whole belief system, I really wanted to dedicate my creativity to the brand’s true representation: GOD. Energy. Consciousness. Ergo, I created CHI INTERNATIONAL. I can't wait to grow the brand into the dreams I've always had with it. It will change the world.”

What do you hope to bring attention to for your city, state, nation?

“I want the world to notice and respect Omaha as a gem in hip-hop/pop music culture. I want the American people to take more time to pay more attention to what we look like as a nation to foreign countries. I think that individuals could do better at spreading good vibes. Hopefully my art makes consumers want to be nicer.”

Who have you recently collaborated with and what was the nature of the project?

“John Ficenec, he's an incredible visual artist. We meet each other on Instagram! We honestly just met up one day at a local thrift store and he was very specific about the vision he wanted to capture. We put flowers in my hair and just started going at it. Most definitely my favorite photographer I've had the honor to work with.”

What upcoming events/projects should we be on the lookout for?

“I FINALLY dropped my self-produced project Purple Abstract this year. Also… I dropped a sequel to my mixtape series Snow,  titled Snow2, only 20 hours after releasing Purple Abstract. There's always a long list of events and creative endeavors I'm producing. Just stay connected through my website or follow my on Instagram @chikadibia_

What are you motivated by as an artist?

“Self is a huge part of my motivation as an artist. My life’s experiences have been extremely vivid to my mind’s observation. God is an infinite resource of inspiration/motivation that blesses me in every moment with beautiful complexities I could never describe.”

Photo credit: John Fortes

Photo credit: John Fortes

From the mouths of babes, they say. Chi can probably have the deepest conversation with anyone if you have a few minutes to spare. Just don’t be surprised if he finds a connection, a path of light, to help you build your own creative mission.

If you want to learn more about the creative expression and future events offered by Chi, visit his website at: ONLYPEACE.US