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Our Story

Not Your Average Family Business

In 2020, amidst global uncertainty, Gaffrey Art Material was born. Founded by Florida-based artist, Justin Gaffrey sought to challenge the conventional acrylic paint market. Frustrated by the limitations of available products, Justin embarked on a quest to create a paint that could meet the needs of his unique sculptural painting technique. This journey wasn't just about finding the right ingredients; it was a dive into the unknown, a challenge to the status quo of the acrylic paint industry.

Justin's path was fraught with obstacles. The industry was tight-lipped, and many experts dismissed his ambitions as futile. Yet, driven by a mix of passion and necessity, he persisted. With the help of his children, Justin Jr. and Aria, and a dedicated team, they transformed their art studio into a small lab for paint innovation. Their efforts focused not only on achieving the desired thickness and texture for Justin's work but also on creating a versatile range of acrylic paints that catered to all types of painters.

The Gaffreys' approach was unconventional. They reached out to chemists and suppliers, learning through trial and error. Many experiments failed, leading to unusable batches of paint. But these failures were stepping stones. They fueled further experimentation, leading to the development of a line of acrylic paints unmatched in quality and versatility.

Their perseverance paid off. Gaffrey Art Material's acrylic paints broke new ground, offering artists the ability to achieve not just the textured, three-dimensional effects that Justin initially sought but also catering to a broader spectrum of artistic styles. This journey against all odds is a testament to the Gaffrey family's dedication to art and innovation. They went from being dismissed by industry experts to establishing a niche in the market, proving that with determination and creativity, it's possible to change the game. Gaffrey Art Material now stands as a symbol of perseverance, offering a range of acrylic paints that empower artists to explore new possibilities and push the boundaries of their craft.

 

Artist Profile

Justin Gaffrey

Brought up on the emerald coast of northwest Florida, Justin Gaffrey Sr. has embodied the mythical American Bootstrap-Dream. Expelled from middle school, Justin went from selling dime bags under the Okaloosa Pier to a respected career in the culinary arts. Grinding from dishwasher to cook, by his late twenties, Justin was a Chef in his own right, opening his very own restaurant at 29: all before he ever started painting. Tapping into the budding art scene of 30a, Justin first picked up a brush at 30 and, using his now famous DIY spirit, began transitioning from self-made chef to self-made artist, opening a gallery just minutes away from his former restaurant. 

He began experimenting with impasto-style painting – the thicker the paint, the better. Within a few years, Justin's transformation from chef to artist was in full swing: utilizing the same wild work ethic he used in the kitchen, he found his new business as an artist growing. But most importantly, his style grew: shifting from the familiar south-east-folk art into something entirely his own. Justin pushes to evolve as an individual and an artist constantly. His hunger for learning has expanded his work as his process and methods transform. 

His work is often motivated by the views unique to scenic Highway 30a, where he lives. The dune lakes of the area are rarified to few places in the world, and the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico are nearly as remarkable. Somehow, Justin's extensive collection of landscapes investigates the human experience while rarely depicting human figures. His natural works induce mood solely by shifting color palettes without making his collections seem redundant. His works will take a similar visage and make it fresh, how a sunrise from your favorite spot differs every evening.

The scenery of 30a stands out from the surrounding landscape like a pile of diamonds in a parking lot. It really smacks you in the eye. Justin is an avid traveler and loves the desert. He would travel alone to Utah, Arizona, or New Mexico, with only painting supplies to fill his time. As Justin's prowess as an artist grew, he strove to produce that startling effect a natural visage can have on the human psyche. And so, Justin dove into raising the impact of his artwork from the flatness of a canvas into the dimension of sculptural, textured painting. 

Justin invented his very own Heavy Body Texture acrylic paint, which he used to bring these visages off the canvas and into that next dimension. Sculpting as much as painting, some of his paintings boast upwards of 8 gallons of this specialized paint. And yet, nothing on the market allowed Justin the exact technique he was creating—nothing strong enough, nothing thick enough. No paint company had a paint ready-made that was good enough for Justin's unique style. And in classic Gaffrey fashion, he set out to invent what he needed. And with Gaffrey Art Materials, he's done just that. 

With collectors all over the world, his work has inspired the path for many impasto acrylic painters; perhaps his most impressive students have been his children, Justin Gaffrey, Jr. and Aria Gaffrey, who he raised quite literally in his studio/gallery/family home. These kids picked up a paintbrush before they could walk. And they were selling those paintings as soon as they could barter themselves. Justin Jr. left college to pursue his art career full-time as a mixed-media painter, living in Denver and LA, before returning to take the reins at GAM. Aria is our in-house Gen Z consultant. She has a propensity for drawing, tattoos, and graphic design and has been an integral part of Gaffrey Art Material's branding.

What truly sets Justin apart from other successful artists isn't necessarily his style, which is ranging and curious, nor his techniques, which are unique and clever; instead, it's his generosity and his willingness to share. He shares his process, his methods, and most importantly, he's developed Gaffrey Art Material to share his discovery in the freedom of sculptural painting. We hope Gaffrey Art Material becomes a community for you rather than just a collection of commodities. Join us in learning. We can't wait to learn how you make art!