We had the good fortune of connecting with Bridget Bailey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bridget, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
Hi, I am Bridget Bailey. I am a student and an artist. I make embroidery with political themes. I am a women, gender, and sexuality studies major. I am an ex-sex worker. I have endured abusive relationships. I am also a recovering heroin addict, with almost five years sober in June. My embroidery is a reflection of the world around me and lived experiences. Before all of those things, I am a feminist. I thought being an addict and all that comes with that was be my life for a long time. I had accepted it, but you get exhausted living like that. I finally got exhausted around 21 years old. When I got exhausted, my addictive personality and my need for vice were still there. Only the dope was gone. So, I needed a new vice. I used art, reading about theory, and focusing on being a student to replace dope. I found the creatives, thinkers, and revolutionaries that I found interesting and admired. Toni Morrison said, “The best art is political, and you ought to be able to make it unquestionably political and irrevocably beautiful at the same time.” All of those experiences I mentioned show up in my art. I mostly make embroidery, but it comes up in my paintings too. I attempted many different mediums and outlets but ended up starting Mutiny Embroidery. I picked embroidery because it is considered women’s work. I can put something “unladylike” on something traditionally feminine. I’ll always appreciate duality in any artwork. Everything I had been through, all of my convictions, with a cute flower or something like that. It all tied together and made sense.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
People hear embroidery, and they think or sometimes even say, “My grandma does that too.” I laugh to myself because I am sure their grandma isn’t stitching “Don’t let the cops out or the cats in” or “Come back with a warrant,” but I laugh and say, “Ah, yes, exactly.” I like to make things challenging for myself. My challenges were only self-imposed. I realized there are way too many people in this world who will love what you are doing artistically and, in general, the less pressure I felt. What’s the worst that could happen? Some random person is not into it? The random person you are worried about usually is not as critical of yourself as you are. You make a new friend, and you open up conversations through your art. So, putting myself out there was my only real self-imposed barrier. I knew my art was good. I was worried that not everyone saw what I saw, but there will always be people seeing what you are seeing. So, I guess my biggest lesson learned was that if you want anyone to pay attention to what you are doing, you cannot be afraid to look foolish or out of place and that all of those thoughts are usually our own brain beating us up.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend came to the city, I would take him to Slutty Vegan & probably EAV for drinks. I am a homebody. I want to have a sesh and sleep most days, and my friends are usually the same.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My sister, my mom & dad, my therapists turned mentors, and my cat Persephone or Lil Kim.