Carden Bailey was born in Houston, graduating from San Jacinto High School. He attended Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts for three years. He was a student of Penelope Bailey Lingan in Houston and in 1938 became a member of a cooperative art gallery--in Forrest Bess' studio--with Gene Charlton, Russell F. Davis, Jan Olmstead, and Forrest Bess. Bailey painted children's portraits in Houston and also became interested in set design, designing sets for the Houston Little Theatre.
Following service in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, he studied sculpture and painting at the Art Students League of New York. One of his instructors was William Zorach. Bailey remained in New York where he was a fee lance designer and sculptor for both the theater--including the Thomas Wolfe Playhouse--and for ABC and NBC television studios. Bailey died in New York City.