We had the good fortune of connecting with Cabe Booth and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cabe, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
“…hanging out does not make one an artist. A second hand wardrobe does not make one an artist. Neither do a hair-trigger temper, melancholic nature, propensity for tears, hating your parents, nor even HIV – I hate to say it – none of these make one an artist. They can help, but just as being gay does not make one witty (you can suck a mile of c***, as my friend Sarah Thyre puts it, it still won’t make you Oscar Wilde, believe me), the only thing that makes one an artist is making art. And that requires the precise opposite of hanging out; a deeply lonely and unglamorous task of tolerating oneself long enough to push something out.” ― David Rakoff, Half Empty
David Rakoff (RIP) was my favorite contemporary writer. His Book “Half Empty” (among others) was very soothing to my mindset as to what I have experienced in my career. It validated many frustrations and thoughts that I was alone in my experiences with…well…the truth of creating and being an artist. This quote says volumes (in one paragraph) about what art and being and artist really is.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Well I have my own motto when it comes to creating artwork. “Never sign your name to crap”. It doesn’t matter how much the person is paying you or how difficult the client may be. Never sign your name to “crap”. Because if you do? Then your name will be out there on some artwork that is subpar or maybe even terrible. People will see that artwork and your signature on it. Even if it’s hanging in a house out of public eye or donated to charity (which, I have a LOT of). I’ve always made sure that I was proud of the artwork before delivering it to a client. That’s all you can really do. So I guess I am most proud of my work ethic, because it hasn’t been easy to say the least. Beyond that? I can tell you that it’s been really difficult maintaining the business side of art. They didn’t offer business classes for artists back when I was in school. I know it’s pretty common now. I can’t tell you how valuable that would have been to me (or to anyone starting their art career). I know it would have helped me with a lot of stumbling blocks throughout my career.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well this is a difficult question right after the pandemic and all. I’ve been somewhat of a shut-in even before that for about a decade. I used to spend all of my time in Deep Ellum booking bands and doing paintings and art shows. Probably since about 1985. I started to taper off going out after my daughter was born in 2008 and really started to focus on making my art career the my focus, beyond my family of course. Nowadays? I guess I would say that but enjoy taking them to The Kessler and Three Links to watch live bands and maybe run into some familiar faces. If they were interested in artwork I’m sure that I would take them by the Kettle Gallery or Ro2. I just don’t get out much these days. Obviously, the past year has made that true for everybody.
Alright, so let’s jump right in! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there a person, group, organization, book, etc. that you want to dedicate your shoutout to? Who else deserves a little credit and recognition in your story?
Well, I wouldn’t be where I am without my parent’s support. Being an artist isn’t a constant flow of income. If you add to that the fact they paid for my degree from UNT (and kept me and later my family afloat during lean times) I cannot say that anyone or anything has been more helpful. But there are others definitely. I would also thank the folks who started the annual Art Conspiracy, Sara Jane Semrad and Jason Roberts for including me in the event from the start. They claim I was the first artist they sought out. Jason Roberts said they needed “some clout” when approaching other artists to join on. It was unexpected and flattering. I was truly honored to be asked to help at the time (and every year since). As for others? I must posthumously mention JD White (RIP) my college painting buddy, who was unfortunately murdered after leaving my birthday party many years ago. He was the purest form of “art buddy” one could have. His absence from my life and art career is crushing. He had the drive to find avenues and make connections. Plus his space on Exposition……. which is where I sold my first piece of art (after graduating in 1995 with my BFA from UNT) brings me to the next mention I MUST make. The buyers were Gianna Madrini and her husband Gregg. They also bought my first Art Conspiracy painting setting the record that night at $400!!! (HAHA…..considering it got up to over $4k in later years) But the boost to my confidence was amazing. Followed by many more years w Art Conspiracy. Gianna and Gregg have been amazing patrons of my art and even guidance at times. I have to mention the bulk of “my art career”……….or what I referred to as “My day job”. I painted all the portraits in Curtain Club starting in 1997. That led to Painting for Next Stage in Grand Prairie….which became Nokia Theater……then Verizon Theater and now is That Venue in Grand Prairie. Curtain Club got a lot of portraits out of me, but Nokia Theater? They have HUNDREDS. Then they added Palladium Ballroom (now South Side Ballroom) and I was working for Sprint Center in KC and Trees in Deep Ellum as well. It was a busy 12 years.