Coastal art tasteful, gumbo art delicious


It takes me several hours to whisk through Miles Antique and Collectible Mall – Florida’s largest. It’s so big that when something stops my speed-shopping, you know it’s captivating. This art stopped me in my tracks. The artist has conquered space – and not just her exhibit space.

Kim Bailey has conquered positive and negative space to create captivating culinary art. But it was two artist-designed TV armoires that halted my progress and beckoned me into her vendor booth. I see plenty of palm trees and fish painted furniture here in the Florida Panhandle, but it takes a professional to produce something different from the preprinted, stamped items sold at import and big box stores. These armoires were tastefully refashioned with seaside motifs and perfect for a cottage or a condo. As I looked around, I realized everything’s a canvas to Kim Bailey – t-shirts, paddles, bottles, skateboards. And I like it all.

In a corner of her booth I found “gumbo” art. Bright red shadow boxes framed a series of

three culinary creations painted in whimsical, carefree style. At first view, my eye studied the content of the pots and the ingredients. On second glance, as I realized her mastery of negative and positive space. In the background of each piece, the name of the dish is worked into the art. Look closely, squint and you’ll see the black and white checks spell out the words “jambalaya,” “gumbo” and “etouffee.”

There’s much more gumbo-inspired art around than I ever imagined when I began my quest for all things gumbo. I’ve found gumbo art at restaurants, gumbo cookoffs, art galleries and festivals, and now at an antiques mall. I don’t know what inspires an artist to depict gumbo, but I know a painting like Bailey’s is truly more interesting that the best-lighted photograph on any five-star restaurant menu. So interesting, in fact, that I might need to zip by Miles’ the next time I’m in Pensacola.

Photo collage by Kim Bailey.

Visit and see the breadth of her work, from sculpture to printmaking, portraits to paintings.


About thegumbodiaries

On the search for the perfect gumbo!
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