1933 - 2002
After studying at the New York School of Visual Arts and the Pratt Graphic Art Center, Bailey arrived on island in 1959, joined the AAN in 1961, and rented on Old South Wharf. He then moved to the corner of Orange and Main Streets until the early ‘70s. His last studio was on Vestal Street. from the I&M: Victoria Bailey Cooley spent much of her childhood watching her father Roy as his brushstrokes danced across the canvas to the sounds of the Beatles. Roy Bailey, who died in 2002, was (and still is) one of Nantucket’s most well-known and admired painters, and since his death, his children have carried on his artistic legacy. “My father and I were attracted to similar subject matter,” said Victoria, who uses both watercolor and oil paint to depict Nantucket scenes, as well as other serene environments. Her father was best known for his maritime works of boats on the harbor.
“Nantucket was very important to both of us. We both respond to the natural beauty there, and its uniqueness. Nothing gets me like Nantucket,” said Victoria, who with her brother Stuart is presenting the “Bailey Tradition” art exhibit at the Languedoc at 24 Broad St. Monday, July 30 from 3-6 p.m. In honor of their father, they will showcase samples from their family collection.
The venue, said Victoria, was one Roy had talked about doing for a while, but never got around to putting together, especially after he became ill. They will serve hors d’oeuvres, wine, and, Roy’s favorite drink, the martini. “One of his favorite lines was ‘How do you want the tale to end, with an olive or with a twist?’” said Victoria.
While her artistic repertoire largely consists of an equal balance between watercolor and oil, Victoria said she has no preference between the two.
“With watercolor, I love to do more intricate detail, like lace. With oils, I tend to do broader strokes. They enhance each other. When I do large murals, I use acrylic. When you work on large walls and then go back onto canvas, I find my colors are better. It’s really intimidating doing a big wall. I have to tell myself I’m not curing a disease when working on a mural,” she joked.
Born on Nantucket in 1962, Victoria graduated from the Ringling School of Art and Design in 1986 and has pursued a serious art career ever since, even though she started with her father at an early age.
“I feel that it’s a huge void not just in our family, but on Nantucket. There’s something about my dad that made such a huge presence. It was really extra strong when he died. This way (the Nantucket community) can have that connection. What better way to honor a friend than to be with their family?”
As a tribute to her father, many of her paintings have subtle messages worked in, such as a candle in the window. She also incorporated messages to her family, like three aprons hanging to represent her children growing up, and her relinquishing her role as mother.
Although relatively new to the painting world (Victoria started much younger), Stuart harbors the same skill Roy passed on to his daughter. This will be the first time he has shown on Nantucket.
“I think he inspired my brother’s work. It’s not just the subject matter, there’s a little feel in the way he handles his paint that reminds me of my dad. And Stuart never painted with my father,” said Victoria.