The New Landscape

Why South Bay residents are falling in love with contemporary expressionist artist Amadea Bailey.

There are those who paint the world they see, and there are those who paint from their gut. Amadea Bailey is the latter.

Standing in the middle of her loft studio with her large-scale canvases towering over her, Amadea appears diminutive—but only for a moment. The airy space, built behind the Los Angeles bungalow she calls home, has been transformed into an artist’s studio. It is marked by a concrete floor so covered in splatters of paint, it resembles a Jackson Pollock painting.

Soon a whirlpool of energy starts to build beneath her feet as she effortlessly lifts giant canvases leaning on starkly white walls, revealing a few more from her most recent collection. The work, bright and abstract, hits you like a tidal wave. You’re sucked in. Connecting to the purposeful energy, Amadea has expertly crafted a story with a mix of acrylics, Caran d’Ache crayons, oils or watercolors, and other items that feel surprisingly in place—like wrapping paper, a paintbrush or a flyer.

It’s difficult to separate Amadea from the canvases. They are one. She isn’t recreating a SoCal sunset or depicting a landscape. She is sharing a transcendental experience, expressing her raw emotion onto the canvas. As a viewer, you instantly connect with this energy.

“My art has a lot of light. My paintings are emotional, so the energy is potent and people connect to that,” she says.

Such experience is typical for potential buyers who visit Amadea at her studio. Flooded with emotions, most become friends, collectors and admirers.

Janet Laver of Manhattan Beach is one. First introduced to Amadea by her interior designer, Suzanne Ascher of Waterleaf Interiors in Manhattan Beach, Janet initially visited the studio to find a contemporary piece for a large wall. At the studio, she found herself drawn to a white canvas textured with cream paint, remnants of lace and an abstract figure of a dancer.

“It was simple, it was elegant,” she says. “Every day I just smile, and it reminds me of my mom.” Later she purchased another piece from Amadea—also a dancer but “a bit more contemporary and abstract with pops of fuchsia and chartreuse,” explains Janet, an avid traveler and collector in her own right.

But what has made Amadea successful—especially within the South Bay community, where locals search for a perfect contemporary piece to complement their digs—isn’t merely the art. Though Amadea is a Yale-educated expressionist painter, what most people fall in love with at the studio is the artist herself.

“She is fascinating as a person. I loved her spirit,” sums up Janet.

Amadea has lived an extraordinary life. Born in Germany, she spent her childhood in Kenya, where her father was a professor in a small village college. Today her work still connects to those early memories. Later she lived in New York, London and Paris, always painting, always collecting experiences and memories, always transferring them onto the canvas.

For Amadea, the embrace of her art by South Bay residents simply means she gets to do more of what she loves, which is the process itself. A trained dancer, painting on a large scale requires her to move her body across the canvas, and that feels natural. “I’m a deeply physical person. I love movement,” she explains.

Now the quintessential California girl with beachy blonde locks and a passion for surfing, Amadea has a massive collection that spans several years and nearly 25 canvases. “It’s really an improvised dance,” says Amadea, pointing to her gut in indication that the amassed work has been a cathartic process she is now ready to share.

For more information about the Amadea Bailey collection, visit amadeabailey.com.

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