Cbabi (pronounced Kuh-bob-bi) Bayoc was born Clifford Bernard Miskell, Jr. in Fort Dix, New Jersey. His family eventually settled in Illinois when his father was stationed at Scott Air Force Base. They then moved to Korea for a small stint, until his father attempted suicide and later died from complications from pneumonia. After graduating in 1995 with a Bachelors Degree in Art from Grambling University, some major life changes began to happen.
For one, Clifford had chosen Grambling because he had fallen for society’s failed attempt at making EVERYONE believe that predominantly African-American environments were undesirable. Living in “multi-cultural” communities and being spoon-fed certain stories on the 6 o’clock news made visiting East St. Louis clubs in his adolescent years a questionable decision. But at Grambling he fell in love with himself and the black community. With one semester of Swahili under his belt, he chose to come up with a new name and definition for his life purpose. Hence, ‘CBABI’, an acronym for Creative Black Artist Battling Ignorance.
In the mid 90’s, Cbabi began to pursue a career as an illustrator. His first big client was Rap Pages magazine which brought his work to a much wider audience. Over the years, some of his clientele have included Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, New Line Cinema, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MCA Records, and singer, songwriter Prince.
In 2012, inspired by the memory of his dad and his own role as a father, he began an art project called 365 Days with Dad. He painted 365 Black fathers as a metaphor for the necessity of a dad’s presence in a child’s life. This project is still widely shared all over the world via social media. Cbabi has decided to dedicate the rest of his life to the ‘Art of Fatherhood’ to help keep the father image prevalent in the Black community.
Currently a resident of St. Louis, Cbabi was drawn to St.ART’s mission immediately, and felt his art would add to the festival’s message. ‘St.Art supports a community environment. I am a firm believer that what matters most is what everyday folks do. A smile or a hello goes a long way. This can have a ripple effect’, says Cbabi. ‘My work speaks to the family, children and positive images of everyday fatherhood. So many people don’t know their dads. I speak to people’s emotion. I’m excited to express the emotions on both days of St.ART. It will be a powerful message and testimony.It is my hope that St.ART will spark relationships that help speed up change.’