Bringing paper home to her son, Clifford Miskell, Jr., for artwork after a long day of work started as a way to evade boredom and to occupy idle hands. Neither he nor his mother could have imagined that art would take center stage in the way. Following his graduation from Grambling State University, where he changed his name to Cbabi Bayoc, art led to a one-season job at Six Flags where he became a caricature artist. Determined to never return for another season of enduring harsh temperatures and harsh art critics, Cbabi (pronounced Kuh-bob-bi) began studying various artists to define his style and improve his skill.
The determination to not return to Six Flags led to what has become a solid career that has spanned nearly 3 decades. Today, Cbabi Bayoc is an internationally renowned St. Louis, MO-based visual artist, muralist, and New York Times Best Selling illustrator for Goodnight Racism authored by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. The evolution of Clifford Miskell, Jr into Cbabi’s name was fortuitous because he would spend his career working to live up to his name which is an acronym for Creative Black Artist Battling Ignorance; Black African Youth of Creativity. Acrylic paint, a flat brush, and an iPad have become not only his voice but his weapons of choice in battling the ignorance of prejudice and racism by showing the dopeness of Black people. His work has included challenging the perception of Black fatherhood through his 365 Days with Dad project, telling the untold stories of the unsung, and painting characters that allow everyday people to feel seen.
You can find his work in schools, hospitals, non-profit organizations, and businesses around the world. In addition, he has had the honor of adding to the work of individuals such as Prince, Dr. Nikole Hannah Jones with the 1619 Project, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi for Goodnight Racism, Chris Lighty, and notable companies including Hydro Flask, Coca-Cola, The Smithsonian Insitute, New Line Cinema, and World Wide Technology. Cbabi’s work is also in the collections of notable art collectors such as Maxine Clark, David Steward, Sr., Prince, Dr. Nikole Hannah Jones, Ken & Nancy Kranzberg, Jack Flaherty, Karen Bernod, Peter Martin, and Demarco Farr.
When Cbabi isn’t creating, you can find him watching documentaries, daydreaming about perfecting his pickleball game, and plotting his next antics to keep his wife laughing.
Zina Al-Shukri (b.1978, Baghdad, Iraq) is an Arkansas based painter who paints the figure in a variety of media. Her large portraits are painted from life. Her smaller works are sourced from family photographs, pictures, books, and her own imagination. All of her work is infused with emotionally charged imagery that digs deeper into the human condition. Each figure painted personifies a broad range of feelings, emphasized through gesture and color. Art has been used as a coping mechanism by Al-Shukri since childhood. Themes of war, birth, death, sex, destruction and life often come bubbling up to the surface of her paintings, as well as love, bliss, connection, spirituality and mysticism. Since graduating from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco in 2009, she has become a single mother of three young children, two of which are twins. Al-Shukri has been exhibiting nationally and internationally since 2010.