Cool Friends: Gemma Bailey 

January 14, 2022

Meet Gemma, a fine artist based in Upstate NY who found the therapeutic qualities of painting in her work during the pandemic. We fell in love with Gemma’s work the first time we spotted it at Little King in Beacon for it’s bold use of color, fantastical subject matter, and abstract compositions. We caught up with Gemma to hear a little more behind the art.

How did you start your career as a fine artist?

I originally studied fine art back home in England after high school but decided to focus on fashion design. I studied Accessories and Footwear Design at The London College of Fashion and loved it. I was always torn between the two but tried to always draw and paint when I could but definitely lost touch with it. I’ve been working in the fashion industry as an Accessories designer for over 20 years working with lots of different brands in London, Europe and New York. When my husband and I moved full time upstate at the beginning of the pandemic we decided to rent an art studio so I had the space to start experimenting and found painting really therapeutic before or after work. I instantly remembered how happy it made me to get lost in something that doesn’t have a brief or consumer behind it.  I made so many bad paintings ha ha, I still do but realized I wanted to try and do it more and more.  I started to find working on paper inspired by all the nature upstate around me really enjoyable. A lot of my paintings are also dedicated to people, either present or past. Sometimes real or from dreams. I guess it started from missing certain friends or family members and being away from home.

What's your favorite part about the New York creative community?

Moving upstate has been really interesting for me. I thought I would maybe feel cut off but I love that there are so many amazing creatives up here and you can build a community quite easily as it's small. I have found people to have been really supportive. Coming from London, I’ve always found New York to be really collaborative, open and positive.

There is a lovely little homewares store and cafe near my house called Little King where I have shown my paintings for a few months. It’s been such a great opportunity to get my work out there and meet more like minded people and has led to further opportunities.  I’m excited to connect with more upstate artists and makers and hopefully work with Little King again in the future.  

What's inspiring you right now?

I’m a bit obsessed with interiors, I’ve been experimenting with more three-dimensional works and ways to take my work beyond paper…..coming soon!  I love artists like Sophie Taeuber-ARP and Sonia Delaunay who have in addition to painting, designed and made textile works, sculpture, interior architecture.…those kinds of artists make me feel inspired to have a more multi-disciplinary approach.

My three year old daughter Harper too just looks at the world in the most inspiring way…..she doesn’t miss a thing and her enthusiasm for the tiniest detail is the best! I like painting with her in the studio sometimes. You can’t beat watching the way a child draws and makes things…My work wouldn’t maybe feel as joyful and optimistic if it wasn’t for her.  

Follow along:
@studio.bailey on Instagram

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Made in Brooklyn, NY