When Cbabi Bayoc set out to paint an image of black fathers every day of 2012, he knew Facebook would be the way he shared those images.
“I didn’t think that’s all I would have to do for it to spread,” he says.
But it was.
As of Jan. 2, Bayoc’s Facebook page for his project, 365 Days with Dad, had 4,549 likes with 1,359 people actively engaging. On Dec. 12, 147 people like the day’s image, 81 on Dec. 10, and a series of seven paintings he added earlier in the month got 808 likes with 62 comments.
“That’s kind of the goal of social media, to have your readers or customers or perspective customers engaged in the content that you’re uploading,” says Michael Kiel, executive vice president of Leap Clixx, a St. Louis-based online marketing firm.
Bayoc started his project to show positive images of black fathers and used Facebook as the way to sell the original paintings. He hoped he’d sell the pieces, which he has.
“I didn’t think people would tell people, would tell people, would tell people,” he says.
St. Louis Artist Depicts African American Fathers With Their Children
For the past year, artist and businessman Cbabi Bayoc has attempted to create a portrait a day of a father interacting with his kid.
The resulting project, titled “365 Days With Dad,” goes beyond showing fathers who go through the motions of parenthood, and shows engaging and teachable moments.
Originally from O’Fallon, Illinois Bayoc began this project as a means of stability, but over the course of a year it morphed into a means of preserving memories and encouraging parents to be their best selves when with their kids.
He has also used social media to create a following of his work. Bayoc posts his completed images on Facebook, allowing viewers to contact him to recreate memories shared with their own fathers. The images vary from the fun and lighthearted (going fishing, piggyback rides) to the bittersweet and solemn (returning home from war, saying goodbye to a parent).
Though Bayoc fell short of completing 365 photos in 2012, he plans to finish the project this winter and find a place to exhibit his work.
St. Louis Public Radio’s Erin Williams talked with Cbabi Bayoc about the memories he has with his own father, who died when he was twelve, being a father to his own three children, and using his talents to promote a positive image of fatherhood.