Successful New York artist decides to pay it forward to fellow creatives struggling during the pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected many people in unprecedented ways – not only physically and financially, but mentally and emotionally. People are struggling to keep their jobs, feed their families, and figure out how they’re going pay their bills. Those in the creative industries have been hit especially hard. Often, the products they sell are seen as a nice-to-have, rather than essential. So many have witnessed a sharp decline in demand. And, this is why New York City painter Guy Stanley Philoche, whose own abstract canvasses sell for as much as $100,000 apiece, decided to step in and help his fellow creatives.
“The art world is my community, and I needed to help my community,” Philoche said. “People say New York is dead, but it’s far from that. There’s an artist somewhere writing the next greatest album. There’s a kid right now in his studio painting the next Mona Lisa. There’s probably a dancer right now choreographing the next epic ballet. People forgot about the artists in these industries.”
In March, Philoche asked creatives all over the world to send images of their work over Instagram, and since that time, he has spent around $65,000 purchasing over 150 unique pieces. Philoche said he’s open to making a deal as long as he has a chance to speak with its creator.
Philoche first came to the U.S. at the age of three and began learning to speak English by watching TV. At a younger age, he started sketching portraits of Disney characters, and he knew he would one day become a professional artist. Now, at 43, he is thankful to be living his dream.
“Art saved my life,” he said. “I owe it a debt I could never repay, but the only way to really repay it is by buying other art from someone who hasn’t gotten a big break yet. And that’s what I’m going to keep doing.” He added, “The sad thing is, I live in a small little New York apartment, so it’s like, literally covered with artwork. I just wanted to do my part. I really, really just wanted to do my part.”
Every wall in this space is covered from floor to ceiling with one-of-a-kind décor. Eventually Philoche will run out of display room, but for now, he keeps acquiring from creatives who are struggling and willing to share their story.
He explains, “I’ve always wanted this really beautiful Rolex watch. It’s a $15-$20,000 watch, so I was like, ‘I’m gonna splurge.’ This is going to be my little splurge for staying focused and working hard and grinding.” But, after COVID hit, he changed his focus and, instead, decided to help out an artist friend and new father who’d just lost his job.
“I ended up buying two of his pieces,” Philoche recalled. “So, I go home, hang his two pieces, and I realize that now’s not really the time to splurge on a watch. Let me do my part and help out. I was looking just to make sure that people had groceries, people had diapers, people were able to pay half their rent. It was just my way to try and help out as much as possible.”