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Clifford Nolan Bailey, born in Miami in 1969, is an American artist who has been creating art professionally for over twenty years. Reminiscent of the roaring twenties with a contemporary feel, Bailey’s compositions all begin and end in an attempt to capture the essence of the moment. “My subject matter is almost always figurative, or relating to the human form, and face,” Bailey says. “Yet each semi-abstracted ensemble structure is a prototype built on a foundation of weight, balance, and form.”
Throughout his career Bailey’s imaginative and highly individualized style of painting has been heavily imitated by his competitors; but don’t be fooled, there is only one Clifford Bailey. Since 1987, his original oil paintings on canvas have portrayed his uniquely recognizable vision of people and musicians in a variety of settings: card tables, street corners, jazz clubs, juke joints and box seats at the theater.
“I like going to where Clifford Bailey's paintings take me, and going there in style,” says Edward Montgomery Waznis, owner of the Edward Montgomery Fine Art Gallery in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA, where Clifford Bailey has been showing since 2001…“I compare him to Egon Schiele, Don Martin, Pablo Picasso and Django Reinhardt. But Clifford Bailey is following his own path. He doesn't choose to be an artist. He has little say in the matter. His art has chosen him and he understands that. You can see it in his work...no pretensions....only true expression of what only he can conjure up. His life's work can be described as genuine.”
Because of his artistically oriented family, Bailey was inclined and encouraged to draw and paint at a very young age. “My second grade teacher was very impressed by my drawing of a parrot,” he recollects. At age 11, Bailey was enrolled in several gifted programs in Southern Florida; in fact, Clifford was a student in the very first class in what would later become Miami’s wildly popular New World School of the Arts. From there, Bailey went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from New York’s prestigious School of Visual Arts (SVA), where he graduated in 1991.
Bailey’s initial launch swept Miami’s hot South Beach scene with one-night only exhibits at popular nightclubs and crowded pool halls; and for over 10 years, he was a fixture at Coconut Grove’s legendary Café Tu Tu Tango, where Bailey would delight onlookers and collectors alike, by painting live in the midst of the bustling restaurant. It was these showings that first brought him exposure and large-scale promotion. In 1999, Art in Motion, a Canadian publisher, mass produced, marketed, and distributed eight of Clifford Bailey's images worldwide, making his originals highly sought after by collectors, and making Clifford Bailey a recognized artist amongst his colleagues.
From his portraits of musicians in fine-tailored suits to his sparse and dramatic street scenes, his creations continue to be admired.