UNLV Professor Anthony Cabot Finds Artistic Joy Creating Gaming-Themed Sculptures
UNLV professor Anthony Cabot has authored or co-authored 12 books on gaming law during his 37-year career as a lawyer. But the legal expert, who holds a Distinguished Fellowship in Gambling Law at the William S. Boyd School of Law, surprised even his closest friends with his ability to create sculptures.
“I’ve always had an interest in art, but I never really thought of myself as someone who would produce art,” Cabot said in an interview at his Summerlin home, adorned with sculptures that he created.
It stands to reason that his desire to create works of art is often inspired by the industry he has been part of throughout his career.
A steel and stained glass sculpture of a pair of dice was one of the first pieces her Facebook friends got to see. “Tumbling Dice” measures approximately 33 inches high and 18 inches wide and depicts a pair of dice tied from corner to corner.
Another steel and glass sculpture, “Pocket Queens”, is a 26 by 32 inch piece featuring the image of a Queen of Hearts and a Queen of Diamonds.
He publishes photos of the sculptures on social networks and awaits the reaction. It is almost always affirmative.
“People seem to like it,” Cabot said. “I get good feedback. I use Facebook as a barometer to know if what I’m doing is going in the right direction or not.
An art expert contacted by the Review-Journal also got high marks, when shown images of Cabot’s pieces.
“These are thoughtful recreations of familiar objects associated with the gaming industry,” said UNLV Galleries Director Jerry Schefcik.
“They seem to be well-crafted in a medium that isn’t typically used for three-dimensional objects. In a way, stained glass is usually associated with places of worship. If you wanted to expand that thought a bit, the game , in some ways, could be considered a worship activity in that a lot of attention, thought, time, sacrifice and resources are given to it,” he said. a life-supporting activity, especially in this state. So a connection between stained glass as religious markers and play isn’t that far off. Overall, I would call these pieces crafts more than works of art.
Not to sell
Many of Cabot’s friends have wanted to buy his designs, but he has no desire to sell them.
“I’ll get 40 or 50 different comments on the job,” Cabot said. “People seem to like it. Shockingly to me, people wanted to buy the pieces, which I tell them, ‘They’re not for sale’. I’m not doing this for a living. I’m doing it because I like to do it My job now is to be a teacher, but I like to do these things as a hobby.
Becoming a teacher helped pave the way to a career as an artist.
After Cabot earned his Juris Doctor from Arizona State University, he joined former Governor Grant Sawyer of the Las Vegas law firm Lionel Sawyer Collins in 1981, one of the first firms to develop a law practice games in the city.
Working alongside his mentor and longtime friend, Robert Faiss, Cabot carved out a niche for himself in gaming law. He stated that as a student he wrote his own study guides, which led him to become a prolific writer of gaming law texts, even as the concept of internet gambling took off in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
After about 25 years with Lionel Sawyer Collins, Cabot left to join the law firm Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie. He stayed there for 12 years – working 56 hours a week and raising a family. When he left in 2018, he enjoyed the benefits of being a college professor.
The holidays began the artistic journey
“The first thing I did was take a long vacation,” he said. “I’ve never taken more than a week and a half or two weeks off in 37 years.”
He leaves for Europe with his wife, his daughter and his boyfriend, an accomplished artist, and discovers a sculpture course with an artist in Barcelona.
“One of the things about Europe is that in many places (they) offer experiences,” he said. So my daughter’s boyfriend and I decided to try a sculpture experience where you actually create a sculpture.
He was hooked.
“It turned out to be a lot of fun. My carving wasn’t very good, but it was a first shot,” Cabot said.
He talked with his brother in Cleveland and decided to buy a welder, moving into his garage. Then it was about coming up with ideas and executing them.
In addition to steel and stained glass, Cabot experimented with magnets. He tinkered by incorporating magnets into a circular frame and then placing other magnets at the ends of a chain. The artistic effect is that the magnetic forces attract each other and the chain seems to be suspended in the air.
In Cleveland, Cabot met someone at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame who collected key cards from the hotels he stayed at. Cabot had his own collection of key cards from his travels in foreign gambling jurisdictions.
“Something is going to happen with these, but I don’t know what yet,” he said.
He was eventually inspired to create a keyhole-shaped room with the dozens of keycards he had collected, encasing the cards in epoxy.
Cabot was able to get better and better at creating his steel and stained glass art.
He has created stained glass flower bouquets, cactus sculptures and even mixed magnets. He also used stained glass and epoxy with a new element, wood, in his latest piece “Two Guitars”, inspired by Pablo Picasso’s “Guitar” sculptures, first in cardboard and then in sheet metal.
One of the highlights of his art career was being named the winner of a magazine art contest by Arizona Attorney magazine in May 2021.
Cabot says he finds inspiration by looking at the work of Picasso and French artist Patrice Merot, surfing Pinterest or simply strolling through a casino.
“It’s a bit weird because I’m going to stay a long time without having an idea,” he said. “Then all of a sudden I see something and I’m like, ‘This is interesting.’ ”
Some of his ideas show his sense of humor. In one of his bathrooms, he exhibits “Lawyers Going to Work”, a metal piece showing shark fins emerging from an epoxy surface.
But ask Cabot what his favorite piece is and he returns to “Pocket Queens”.
“‘Queens’ was a three-month project and I put in about 80 hours on it,” he said. “My glass cup is not very good. I went through a lot of broken glass before I got all of these pieces the way I wanted. The good thing about a lot of these parts is that they took a lot of time but they taught me a lot of skills and they taught me how to cut glass and solder and make boards epoxy and other techniques.