The Artist as Entrepreneur
Cbabi Bayoc

Age: 32
Hometown: O'Fallon, IL
Profession/Type of Art: Painter/Illustrator
Education: BLA in Art from Grambling State University;
AA in Liberal Arts from Belleville Area College (now Southwest Illinois College)
Since becoming a full-time artist in 1995, after graduating from Grambling State University, Cbabi has stayed true to himself by creating what he enjoys.

His name, which is an acronym for Creative Black Artist Battling Ignorance and Blessed African Youth of Creativity, allows others to realize his mission and blessing in life. Through his artwork, he is able to show his passion for both music and human expression.

After working as a caricature artist at Six Flags Over St. Louis, in 1997, Cbabi pursued a career as an illustrator. His first big client was Rap Pages magazine. During the entire year of 1998 he was given the RPM section on a monthly basis to display a caricature of the feature artist. Because of that job, he was approached by Violator Management to do the cover of the Violator Compilation, Vol.1 album (people still remember the cover to this day).

Over the years, Cbabi has had the pleasure of working with many more famous and not-so-famous folk. All are equally appreciated. Some clientele include Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, New Line Cinema, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MCA Records, and singer, songwriter Prince.

Born in New Jersey, Cbabi has lived in Louisiana, Illinois, and Korea before making his home in St. Louis with his wife, Reine and children, Jurni Moon and Ajani Day.

The following is an interview with Cbabi conducted by Allison Levin, UM-St. Louis, in July 2004.

Q. Have you always worked in your current profession?

A. This has been my gig since graduating from college in '95. The only jobs I've had during that period included being a caricature artist at Six Flags in '97, working at a gallery in Union Station for a few months, and working at Artmart for a few months.

Q. How did friends and family react when you chose to pursue this profession?

A. They most probably think I'm crazy, even to this day. But they are starting to see it paying off for me. My mom and sister knew all along this is what I was going to do.

Q. What challenges have you faced in making a living in your chosen profession?

A. The biggest thing has been separating the money from business to personal, and learning to go months without getting paid.

Q. What sacrifices have you made to pursue your chosen profession?

A. I think the biggest thing is limiting the amount of pleasures you allow yourself.

Field Mob
Cbabi Bayoc ©2004
My wife and I have never had "that vacation." And we miss more concerts than we would choose to miss.

Q. As a teenager and young adult, did you ever doubt that you would be able to make a living in your chosen profession?

     Lookin' Back
     Cbabi Bayoc ©2004

A. I didn't really think about it until college. And by that time, I had no interest in doing anything else.

Q. What advice would you give to a young adult who wants to try to make a living as an artist?

A. Create as much as you can with 100 percent effort, and then find a great college with a great art department with a great staff with great connections to the outer art world. And, when you get in, work your butt off so the professors will break their necks to hook you up with the folks that can get your career off to a good start. If you aren't willing to do that, then find a job you can tolerate while you stay up all night painting, and create a strong body of work. From there you could shop for a show or try to break into the art fair circuit and travel.

You may visit Cbabi's on-line gallery at

copyright 2004, Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis