'I will paint a new image of fatherhood every day': For artist, every day is a day with dad

Written by Steve Nagy/BND on .

Artist Cbabi Bayoc thinks he may have found his defining project with "365 Days With Dad."

"For the entire year of 2012, I will paint a new image of fatherhood every day," he said. "They will be positive images, black men with their children."

Bayoc, 39, lives in south St. Louis with his wife and three kids. His wife owns and runs Sweet Art From Scratch Bakery at 2203 S. 39th St. in St. Louis. Bayoc grew up in O'Fallon and is an alumnus of Southwestern Illinois College and Grambling State University.

He was Clifford Miskell Jr. when he graduated from O'Fallon Township High School. But he later changed his name, which stands for Creative Black Artist Battling Ignorance and his last name for Blessed African Youth Of Creativity.

He said his paintings are posted each day on his Facebook page and website, www.365dayswithdad.com, by 10 p.m. Each will be available to the first taker for $200.

He also will produce some limited edition prints and some posters.

Bayoc has taught art and led workshops in the area as well as selling art. He has appeared at Art on the Square in Belleville.

He said the reaction to the dads project has surprised him a bit.

"I've had great response," he said. "People are wanting to buy them. I just sort of put this out there and it just took off. I've had people from all over the world commenting."

The concept started with a work of art he did in college of an African-American dad braiding his little girl's hair.

"I wanted to put it on the market," Bayoc said. "A professor said that it had been his experience that black women are the main purchasers of art and they didn't buy images of men."

Bayoc said he had another sad experience during an art show in Washington, D.C.

"A woman held up my print entitled 'Daddy's Love,'" he said. "She said it was really beautiful but she couldn't take it home. When I asked her why she said, 'I would have to explain to my daughters why their daddy isn't around.'"

But he has become encouraged because he has had women buying his paintings for their husbands and children.

He labels his style of art as limotion a term which means combining line, light and emotion.

He admitted he has set himself a huge task.

"I have to keep reminding myself, one per day," he said. "It's about putting fear to the side and trusting yourself. Actually it's kind of insane, everyday."

But it also is helping fuel and refresh his artistic senses.

"This is freeing," he said. "Commissions can take the fun out of it."