NEW YORK - It all started with an Instagram post.
"I just want to say to all my artist friends right now, I am looking to buy as much artwork as possible. I just want to do my small part," said artist Guy Stanley Philoche through an Instagram post at the end of March.
The Harlem-based artist had a sold-out art show in March, right before the pandemic hit. Sales were good and he felt lucky, but he also heard a voice inside his head urging him to pay it forward.
"Art saved my life and I owe a debt that I can never repay but I also made a promise to myself that every time I sell a painting I’m going to buy a painting," said Philoche.
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Recommendations on who Philoche should buy art from started to inundate his Instagram page. Since then, he has purchased $65,000 in paintings, sculptures and photographs from more than 150 artists worldwide, many of whom have been struggling to pay their bills due to the pandemic.
Philoche bought one work of art from fellow New York artist, Michael Shannon.
"It’s pretty unheard of. There is more of a competitive nature between artists as opposed to literally helping each other, so that’s completely upside down compared to what most artists do for one another," said Shannon.
"It’s not about the money, it’s really about giving these artists a vote of confidence right now, because right now we are in a place where people are not dreaming anymore," said Philoche.
Philoche keeps about sixty pieces of his purchased art in his apartment at one time. The rest are in storage, ready to be rotated into the mix. His goal is to keep splashing bits of color onto an industry that has experienced a dark year.