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St. Louis artist paints 'most ambitious' mural in East St. Louis

"To be able to put a dope message on the highway, I mean that's priceless."

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — Words can make a difference in a person’s attitude. St. Louis artist Cbabi Bayoc wants his latest work to inspire people who see it.

“If anything, I just hope people see hope,” he said.

People will at least be able to see his work. It is a mural going up along Interstate 64 in East St. Louis at the Interstate 55 split. This one is a big one.

“My most ambitious ever,” he said.

The gigantic piece is going up along a 1,000-square-foot concrete retaining wall and will stretch the entire length.

“I always wanted to do a skyscraper but I think I’ve gotten it. It’s just wide instead of tall,” Bayoc said.

Creating the mural is a daunting task, including the speeding traffic going by as he works.

“Not even really trippin' of the quote-unquote danger of how fast people are going," he said.

One of the hardest parts of the venture is applying the 50-plus gallons of paint onto the wall.

“You just gotta put so much force behind the roller and just walking," he said. "Walking back and forth carrying five gallons up and down the little hill. It’s a lot.”

The work also takes a lot of time.

“Nine, ten-hour days,” he said.

But Bayoc does have help on the project. He is joined by his son and volunteers from the University of Missouri-St Louis in the effort to put up the mural with a message.

“A message of 'believe that you are worthy',” he said.

Officials at World Wide Technology Raceway, which is right up the road from the site, asked him to turn the wall into artwork in time for their NASCAR race in June.

“They wanted a positive message. Something pretty to look at as they head down the highway on the way on the way to the race,” he explained.

The request made him excited.

“To be able to put a dope message on the highway I mean, that’s priceless,” he said.

He believes his message of love, worth, and strength is important during the current times. These times when people may have doubt and uncertainty.

“We just don’t even know what are dealing with. People are dealing with a whole lot. The only thing is they’re only seeing it for five seconds,” he said.

But the mural will be seen.

“Depending on how long it is up here, it could be seen by millions,” he said.

And if they can take away at least something from seeing his mural, Bayoc feels the message on the wall could brighten someone’s mood.

“Get a smile,” he said.

You can see more of Bayoc's work on his website, by clicking here.

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