Justin Gaffrey’s Artwork Jumps Off the Canvas

Justin Gaffrey’s Artwork Jumps Off the Canvas

Christmas morning of 2008 was a bit unique for me. As I opened presents in my mother-in-law’s living room in Huntsville, Alabama, everything seemed pretty normal. Then it happened. I opened an envelope that I didn’t expect. Scott had coordinated with his mom for her to watch the girls while he and I escaped for a couple of days to Destin, Florida. While it might not seem like a big deal for adults to plan a getaway, this was new to me. When we moved back to Iowa, my parents flew to California and escorted the girls while Scott and I took turns driving a van full of valuables and our three dogs to our new home. Aside from that, I hadn’t left them in anyone’s care. Scott would travel for work and I would stay home with the kids. As for me… well, I didn’t travel unless they were with me. From the time the girls were born until that Christmas, Scott and I hadn’t been able to enjoy any quality time alone.

The weather was what you would expect of the Florida panhandle in late December: cool and breezy. We found time to enjoy the sunsets, but during the day we would get behind the wheel and explore with no plans and no destination in our pre-Yelp days. We stumbled across a small town along Highway 98 that offered a quaint downtown with a handful of restaurants and a courtyard filled with small bungalow-style shops. We perused them before continuing our adventure down the highway. As we took a bend in the road, we noticed a quaint cottage with a sign in front. We turned around to see what it was and were delighted to learn it was an art studio! 

Visit Justin Gaffrey Gallery while in Walton County Florida. His unique acrylic paintings are breathtaking! - SahmReviews.com

We made our way inside and met Justin Gaffrey who welcomed us into his very messy studio. As we toured his facility, we couldn’t help but notice how it looked like a thousand cans of colorful stucco had exploded all over. The place was caked in the special formulation of media that he used to create his beautiful artwork. Mr. Gaffrey took time from his schedule to chat with us about how he mixed together his own batches of acrylic paints to create a thick, pliable paste that he was able to mold into amazing, 3-dimensional artwork. He explained that he would wipe his tools onto whatever surface to clean them and it wasn’t unusual for surfaces to end up with a huge buildup of paint on them. I vividly recall how his workbench was several inches thicker than it should have been and pretty much everything else in the room, including the coffee pot, was equally coated.

Visit Justin Gaffrey Gallery while in Walton County Florida. His unique acrylic paintings are breathtaking! - SahmReviews.com

Fast forward to this past December. We booked a VRBO and spent the holiday with my in-laws in a beach area east of Destin. Once again, we spent our days soaking up the sunshine and exploring the area. One day, we headed to the nearby town for ice cream and Scott and I recognized the familiar artist bungalows in the courtyard. We asked the rest of the family if they would mind seeking out the studio with us and they all agreed. A short distance down the road, we once again discovered the small cottage, this time with a new front entryway and an outdoor sculpture garden. When we walked inside, we learned this was no longer Justin Gaffrey’s working studio. A front window-filled showroom was added and now home to a gallery of his many works of art. A design associate at Justin Gaffrey Gallery informed us that his new studio is a larger facility elsewhere in the city. I found a postcard that offered all the details on the studio, the gallery and the artist’s creations.

Visit Justin Gaffrey Gallery while in Walton County Florida. His unique acrylic paintings are breathtaking! - SahmReviews.com

Despite the transformation of what we knew as the studio into a gallery, we were pleased to see that remnants of what it used to be remained. In addition to walls still coated in what is now a permanent tribute to the original studio, we found the old sink, covered with several inches of acrylic composite. While it may have seemed out of place amidst the vibrant works of art, I knew it belonged there and it made me smile to see it.

Visit Justin Gaffrey Gallery while in Walton County Florida. His unique acrylic paintings are breathtaking! - SahmReviews.com
One of my memories of our first visit is that the studio was very dark. The new gallery is equipped with fantastic lighting showcasing a variety of floral, landscape and lifestyle paintings by Justin Gaffrey. This was a huge improvement, brightening things up and giving the paintings the justice they deserved.

Visit Justin Gaffrey Gallery while in Walton County Florida. His unique acrylic paintings are breathtaking! - SahmReviews.com

As we walked around the showroom, I couldn’t help but think about how this gallery had been in the back of my mind since the original visit. I’ve told so many people about it over the years and often tried to look up the name based simply on what I could remember of that drive along the highway a decade ago. Stumbling across the place once was a surprise, finding it a second time was an absolute delight.

Visit Justin Gaffrey Gallery while in Walton County Florida. His unique acrylic paintings are breathtaking! - SahmReviews.com

We didn’t have room in our vehicle to bring a piece of Justin Gaffrey artwork home on this trip, but you can bet that I’ll plan accordingly during our next visit to the area. If you find yourself nearby, be sure to stop by and check it out. Who knows… maybe one of these days we’ll even see Justin Gaffrey’s paintings featured in an art-themed board game

Have you ever seen this style of artwork?


About Nicole

Founder and owner of SAHMReviews.com, Nicole has been involved in social media marketing since 2007. She has partnered with a number of major corporations who utilized her skills to improve their social media outreach and online presence. Nicole has worked closely with brands such as Netflix, Nintendo, Domino's and Disney, has been featured in McDonald's videos as well as Maria Bailey's book "Power Moms". Always a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) and mother of two amazing daughters, if you can't find Nicole, she is probably somewhere being an advocate for playing board games.

27 comments on «Justin Gaffrey’s Artwork Jumps Off the Canvas»

  1. Eliot says:

    The Museum Of Jurassic Technology is a hidden gem.

  2. Hannah R says:

    The Upper Peninsula of Michigan has a bunch of waterfalls that feel like hidden gems. This summer we went to one where you had to part in a residential neighborhood to get to the fall. Super random, but definitely awesome!

  3. Michael Shea says:

    No, but it’s kind of cool.

  4. KC says:

    One of my favorite things to do is look for eateries. I ended up trying out a ramen restaurant on a whim, and now my family eats/gets takeout from there every so often.

  5. Josh Christian says:

    Found a nice Indian place right around the corner from our house. Best curries I’ve ever had!!

  6. Jordan Binkerd says:

    My favorite hometown gem was The Rusty Dog, an Irish pub somehow stuck in the middle of Indiana. Their bourbon cheddar potato soup had you craving another bowl within hours of leaving….sadly, they closed up shop when everything locked down and never reopened….

  7. Benjamin K. says:

    Growing up, we would explore the forests in the city parks. We discovered all kinds of interesting things! For us, that was a hidden gem that only “we” knew about. haha

  8. Tony Platz says:

    The Indian Burial grounds about three miles from my home .

  9. Giggles Giggles says:

    Happened to go on a late nite stroll through the streets of London and got to see some landmarks all lit up with no other locals or tourists to block the view – it was so beautiful!

  10. Brian B says:

    While my wife and I were long distance we found a literal whole-in-the-wall Mexican place while we were meeting up in Cincinnati. Don’t remember what it’s called, haven’t been able to find it again, but we both would love to!

  11. Kimber says:

    Malabar Farm in Ohio is a hidden gem we ran across on a Sunday drive with the family.

  12. Marissa says:

    There is a cool tattoo shop called Funky Rooster in the Chicago burbs. The artists are super talented, and the front of the shop is a a gallery with a bunch of their artwork and the artwork of other artists.

  13. Miguel Angel Carreno says:

    There’s a cool Artisan Alley in Tijuana. Highly recommend!

  14. McKnight says:

    Warner Bros. studio tour in Los Angeles is definitely a hidden gem. I highly recommend it.

  15. James Hamilton says:

    Well, I found a perplexus while shopping at Goodwill. I think I’ve found some good parks as well.

  16. Shirley O says:

    Beautiful art work! I love the texture and the vibrant colors.

  17. Caroline Lennek says:

    Returning from the Saratoga National Battlefield, we stumbled on a hidden gem by stopping for lunch at a small pizzeria (all of 3 tables) on our way back to Troy and had some of best pepperoni pizza we’ve ever tasted (2 large slices and a large soda for $5, super deal as well)

  18. Anthony P Moss says:

    Looks like fun

  19. Rachael DeBates says:

    I found a fun haunted bridge!

  20. Fred Jones says:

    Those paintings look awesome!

  21. Ed says:

    The Trappist Monastery ruins just outside my hometown are definitely a hidden gem.

  22. Krista says:

    So many hidden gems! One of my favorites was a little yoga retreat center I stumbled on in Guatemala twenty years ago!

  23. Carson H says:

    I once made a wrong turn in Texas and ended up at a speedway and got to watch super cars run their practice laps.

  24. Lauryn R says:

    I have never seen this kind of art before, very cool! I love art galleries but haven’t been to one in years.

  25. James says:

    We always made it a point to stop at museums while growing up. We went to a special forces museum which was amazing

  26. Piroska says:

    This art gallery looks amazing. I’d love to visit.

  27. Lauryn R says:

    This is really cool artwork; I love how it truly pops out! I have seen it before, and I love it.

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