Inside the Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie, there are hundreds of likenesses of the artists who have performed there. Most people assume they are posters — photographs — but they are actually paintings. Junius Heights resident Cabe Booth painted all of them. For about 10 years, the artist did little else but paint portraits for Verizon, The Palladium, Curtain Club and other concert venues in Dallas and other cities. He barely even slept. “I slept about every fourth day,” he says. For Verizon alone, he figures he did some 960 paintings in 10 years. After his daughter, Ella, was born almost three years ago, he knew something had to change. He still does some portraits for Verizon, and he sometimes still deprives himself of sleep to get them done, but in the past few years, Booth has been focusing on his own work. “Painting at a panicked pace and filling orders just to pay the bills is not what I want to be doing,” the 41-year-old says. Mostly, he paints birds, butterflies, dragonflies and World War II aircraft on broken wood that is layered in an almost sculptural way. He has an agent now, Kingswife Productions, and he’s getting more gallery shows, doing more charity work. He still does portraits, and although he takes commissions, he mostly does those for himself, too — Willie Nelson, Joey Ramone, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix and others, painted on broken wood. Booth went to Lake Highlands High School and was a familiar face in the ’90s Deep Ellum scene. He once was the youngest radio DJ in the United States, when he had a show interviewing local bands on KNON at 16. Booth could draw very well from a very young age. But he learned to paint at the University of North Texas, under the late Henry Whiddon. He remembers a Whiddon lecture in which the professor told the class that in a few years, 90 percent of them would not be doing art. “Some people were really offended by that,” Booth says. “But I took it for what it was. I realized that being an artist wasn’t going to be easy. And it’s not.”
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