Painter Guy Stanley Philoche, a star in the New York art world, had wanted to treat himself to a fancy watch after a hugely successful gallery show. Then the pandemic hit, and he feared for all the struggling artists who haven’t been so lucky. So, like so many others, he decided to do what he could to help.
He gave up his $15,000 Rolex dreams and went on a different kind of buying spree, putting out a call on Instagram to any artist anywhere who had creations to sell. The submissions rolled in. He’s spent about $60,000 so far with plans to continue as long as he can, and Philoche’s own patrons have taken notice and asked him to make purchases on their behalf as well.
“It’s about artists helping artists,” said the 43-year-old Philoche, who came to America from Haiti with his family at age 3, nearly nothing to their names. “I’m not a rich man,” he said, “but I owe a big debt to the art world. Art saved my life, and I made a promise to myself that once I made it, to always buy from artists who hadn’t gotten their big break.”
Philoche has a budget, seeking out works in the $300 to $500 range. He buys only what he loves, from as far away as London and as close as the studio next to his in East Harlem. About half the artists Philoche has chosen are people he knows, many in New York. The others sent him direct messages on Instagram with sample work in hopes of being picked.
Giving back isn’t something the affable Philoche just recently decided to do. Over his 20-plus year career, he has tried to stick to a simple rule to support other artists: Sell a painting, buy a painting. But it was a chance meeting with a friend and fellow artist who was anxious about the pandemic with a baby on the way that set him on his buying spree.
Creative Solution: Necessity is the mother of invention and one artist's inspiration proved a lifeline for artists, and created a new economy built on trust and generosity. One man's idea -Artist Support Pledge - is estimated to have generated around £48m in sales within 3 months and saved a great many struggling artists. More...