NEW YORK CITY, NY. -- Guy Stanley Philoche is an artist from New York City who's been painting in the city for 20 years.
“Abstract to more modern contemporary to mixed media with neon lights,” Philoche said.
Picked up by a major gallery, he’s now a well-established painter struggling to meet the demand of buyers.
“I just basically kept my blinders on – ya know like a race horse – kept my eyes on the prize and worked hard.”
However, it hasn’t always been that way. Piloche knows very well what it’s like to be a struggling artist. So, when the pandemic hit, his heart hurt for his peers.
“My friends who weren’t as well known in the art world, ya know, haven’t had their big break yet, they were the ones who were calling me panicking,” Philoche said.
Only a couple weeks into the nationwide shut down, Philoche felt called to do something big.
“That voice just didn’t go away. It was like ‘dude, you need to step up, your community is hurting, he’s one of many.' And that’s when I went on Instagram.”
“To all my artist friends right now, I’m looking to buy as much artwork as possible," Philoche said in a video on Instagram. "I just want to do my small part.”
About $65,000 later, he’s still buying art.
“And that’s when I opened pandora’s box and it just went ‘pshhhhhe,’” Philoche said with a chuckle.
The Philoche Collection covers the walls of his apartment from top to bottom.
“No matter what goes on in the world, I know when I come here, I forget about all the stuff.”
Nearly 150 art pieces later, he’s still buying more. Philoche says he’s blessed he’s in a place where he can support so many fellow artists, but for him, it’s less about the money and more about the human connection.
“Oh my God," Philoche said as he opened a package. "This is really, really cool. She did a little self-portrait of me.”
Philoche says he wants to give artists confidence again.
“We were in such a dark place for such a long time and I think people stopped dreaming,” Philoche said.
Just down the hallway, he bought a contemporary abstract painting from his neighbor, Shigeno Ichiwia.
“To support other artists in this COVID-19 situation, it’s not easy to do," Ichiwia said. "I really like that and it’s really something.”
For Philoche, cultivating those relationships and opening the door for other artists is what motivates him to keep buying more.
“Once this is all over, just imagine all the amazing talent that’s going to burst out,” Philoche said.