Nicholas Cabalo just might be the most popular kid in the school cafeteria these days — and it’s all thanks to his dad’s incredible lunch bag art.
While many parents struggle to throw together a decent school lunch before their kids race off to school, Dominick Cabalo has been creating intricate pieces of art on his 12-year-old’s lunch bags for the past three years. He tells Babble:
“I started drawing on his lunch bags about three years ago because I noticed he was a bit reluctant [and] shy when it came to interacting with new children. That’s to be expected, but we wanted him to open up more and have a little more self-confidence. So by giving him a piece of artwork on his home lunches, it was our hope to help break the ice and have more kids come up to him and start a conversation.”
And so far, it seems like Dad’s plan has worked.
“He’s definitely broken out of his shell,” Dominick shares. “And I would like to think that the lunch bags helped. He may not be a motivational speaker just yet, but he’s definitely not the one by himself in the corner.”
And that’s totally fine! Not every kid wants to be the class clown, entertaining everyone at the front of the room. Anything that encourages someone to speak up and have a light-hearted conversation with their peers is always a plus.
Dominick also shares that, according to his mom, he’s loved to draw ever since he was first able to hold a pencil — and it’s a passion he hopes to pass on to Nicholas, by instilling a “love and understanding of art” early.
“He’s on his way to becoming an artist in his own right,” says Dominick, “and we’re hoping by surrounding him with different types of art and attend art classes, it will help him to develop that skill.”
Lucky for Nicholas, he has a great mentor right at home.
I asked Dominick to share which designs have been his favorite so far — and while I can imagine it was pretty hard to choose (it has been three years of drawing lunch bags, after all!) — he did have a few that came to mind right away:
“I did one early on where it was The Guardians of the Galaxy in 5 pieces. Another was an 8-piece Avengers, and then an UP triptych, and a Finding Nemo triptych. Other than our family, people won’t see it joined up, which is why I started posting them online.”
It’s not hard to see why these designs hold a special place in his heart — the amount of thought and detail he puts into each piece is truly impressive. I mean, you really have to be thinking ahead to plan a 8-piece lunch bag installation! As for Nicholas? “He likes the Star Wars and anything superhero-related,” his dad shares.
Dominick recently told PopSugar that since he knows the bags will be quickly destroyed (what middle schooler isn’t crumpling up their brown bag and tossing it into the trash?), he only devotes an hour of time at most to the drawings. All of this artwork in only an hour?! Wow. Color me impressed.
As Nicholas gets older, Dominick says his lunch box drawing days may be coming to an end soon enough. Still, he’s not putting his pencil down just yet.
“As long as Nicholas takes lunches to school and he wants them, I’ll continue to draw them,” he says. “He’s in middle school now, but I have a feeling the days are numbered.”
While that might be so, I’m willing to bet Nicholas will never forget the creative lengths his dad went through just to make him smile every day.