When Miya Bailey touched down in the city of Atlanta in 1996 from Asheville, North Carolina, he planted seeds of growth and began to create. The art scene in Atlanta that he wanted to experience did not exist so he fostered it. Bailey is now in the process of executing a master strategy to build a strong creative community—both figuratively and literally—that will enable him to work with all his friends while also making money together.
Further, he knows that by shaping and improving the community around those relationships he has cultivated and nurtured, the burgeoning art scene that is now starting to blossom will thrive in the years to come.
Miya Bailey, who considers himself an artist first, will easily clarify with you he isn’t just all about tattoos. He is a loving husband, devoted father, loyal friend, philanthropist, planter, film producer, illustrator, and businessman.
His motivation in life is to continue to grow while becoming free: “I don’t want to work for a quick vacation and then go back to work when I get back. I want to work until I can just vacation for the rest of my life. I want freedom for me and my family.”
And for Bailey, art is a gateway to freedom. Read more after the jump…
Bailey’s skills and his laid-back yet personable demeanor attract customers from every age group. He is your favorite artist’s artist.
Bailey’s long-term goal was to show everyone around him that they could be art collectors. He has studied how people around him buy things and applied this to the way he can entice first-time collectors to make a payment on the spot.
After doing a series of art shows and events that attracted buyers of all incomes, Bailey decided it was time to open his own gallery. He knew that young people could walk into City of Ink to purchase their first piece of art; but when they graduate college or get their first big job or buy their first home, he wanted a space where they could become a serious art buyer.
By the time Miya opened up his art gallery Notch8, he’d already cultivated the following he needed to grow into another side of Atlanta. He led his supporters to South Atlanta where Notch8 was placed because he knew that there was nothing art-related in the area.
Bailey’s son attends nearby Carver High School — he imagined that the underdeveloped area would be good for another arts district.
This move effortlessly gives his following a different art buying experience while educating the former first-time buyer on how to become a serious art collector. He co-owns Notch8 with Sharon Dennehey and when their paths crossed each they started making history together in Atlanta.
A part of Notch8’s proceeds will fund a future arts program that will allow local artists to teach high school students different mediums of art. Miya’s organic growth has thrived because of the community connections he’s developed around Atlanta.
It isn’t all about just buying up buildings, land and taking over a community. He’s cleaning it up, fixing buildings and while bringing business to the community that it longed for.
Bailey is willing to share everything he has or knows with anyone who willing to receive it. The art scene in Atlanta was different ten years ago and it did not exist when he arrived. Working with a white woman, Julia Alfonso, at West End Tattoo who gave him an apprenticeship in her tattoo shop helped him learn how to “color outside the lines.”
“She was a white lady breaking boundaries by teaching black tattoo artists how to tattoo,” he explained. This opportunity that Alfonso gave him motivated him to give it back to others around him selfishly.
City of Ink on Peters Street in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood is the first tattoo shop Bailey co-founded with Artist friend Tuki Carter over 10 years ago. In the last three years, he has co-founded another tattoo shop with another Artist friend Corey Davis on Edgewood.
Soon, they will open a third tattoo shop and it is conveniently located right next door to the one they own.
“We didn’t like the tattoo shop next to us so we bought them out,” Bailey explained.
It’s this competitive business mindset with no ego that has allowed him to contribute to the growth of the communities he’s in. He’s not the Mayor of Atlanta, but everyone in the art scene in Atlanta then Miya Bailey is king.
“Miya Bailey and City of Ink have created their community of progressive artist in and of themselves,” explained Bessie A. Winn-Afeku, a photographer and creative consultant who is active in the art scene.
Bailey’s next venture is Peters Street Station! Much like the new tattoo shop, he and his friends won’t have to travel far.
The space that will host Peters Street Station actually is actually just two doors down from City of Ink.
Peters Street Station Community Arts Center, a collaboration between City of Ink and Goat Farm Arts Center, will open a week from today on Feb. 23. Further, City of Ink will celebrate its 11th anniversary and the two venues will host a community block party you don’t want to miss.
This is another building that Miya has placed money, time, sweat & resources into developing the Castleberry Hills community.
Like his other Castleberry Hill investments, Bailey has employed his friends to help construct Peters Street Station.
“It’s like hooking up with my friends, man,” he laughs, between moments of “Everyone has a talent. My gift is kind of picking out talent & everyone play a part so that’s how we got a here as a whole.”
Peters Street Station will be a new space where creatives flock to find inspiration while being motivated by the energy when they first walk in.
A coffee shop and library will be located on the first floor plus other great amenities that creatives can enjoy. The center will host an after-school art program to encourage the next generation of artists.
On the second floor of Peters Street Station, there will be a members-only art incubator for artists where they can enjoy a meal prepared by a chef. This space is guaranteed to the next hot spot for Who’s Who in Atlanta to visit and add to what he has established on this side of Peters Street on Castleberry Hill.
Bailey works in his community and has no issue with working with others outside of the community to make things happen.
“‘My mother Rosa once told me that, “It’s not what you know but who you know who can help you do what you want or build what you need.”
Bailey continues to find ways to pour into these communities while feeding his love of art. It’s a gift that he is sharing and several in the community, like Winn-Afeku, hope that he doesn’t get tired anytime soon.