If a nosey lady neighbor happened to look at Guy Stanley Philoche when he was growing up in Connecticut, she’d probably come to the conclusion that he would go on and make a fine athlete. After all, he was growing up alongside three brothers who were wild-crazy about sports. But the Haiti-born (he immigrated to the USA when he was three), middle child of the Philoche family was never so attracted by sports as he was by art.
Guy Stanley enrolled at Paier College of Art and hopped on to New York, where he currently lives. His distinguished career has been marked by grand exhibits in prestigious shows. Walk into any of the branches of corporations like Merrill Lynch, Barclay Investments, Deutsche Bank, and if you see an eye-catching painting, it’ll most likely be a work bearing his signature. Celebs like George Clooney, Julian Schnabel, Uma Thurman have his paintings in their collection.
The painter is always ready to give back. He enjoys being on top, but considers it all the more reason to help others who are still trying to get there. A percentage of the proceeds from the sales of his paintings goes towards advancing the careers of lesser-known artists. Philanthropy is in his blood as much as geometric lines and contemporary colors are present in his paintings. He has donated his paintings for charitable causes to organizations like the American Cancer Society, ARTrageous, Kids With Cameras, My Language Project and The Leukemia Needs Foundation.
Kreyolicious: Have you ever been so attached to a painting, that just the very idea of selling it just pained you?
No. I know that when someone decides to invest in one of my paintings that they have invested in and believe in me. Their home becomes the showplace of my artwork and is there for many others to enjoy whereas in my studio I’m the only one who can see it and appreciate it.
Kreyolicious: Do you often work on two painting at the same time?
No. I like to focus on the one piece until it is completely finished.
Kreyolicious: Towards the beginning of your career, when your art was starting to be a big part of your life, how did your parents take it?
My parents weren’t so thrilled about me going to art school. They would have preferred a college or trade school that enabled me to find work that would let me get a pension or stability. When they attended my first solo sold-out show in New York they saw that I could make a living out of doing something I loved. They became firm supporters after that.
Kreyolicious: It’s important to develop the tendency to finish everything we start. But according to Seth Godin’s The Dip, it’s not everything we start that necessarily needs to be finished. What usually makes you scrap a painting?
It’s very rare for me to scrap a painting, I often paint over things that just aren’t working. If the painting isn’t going the way I want it to go sometimes I just walk away from it for a while.
Kreyolicious: Have you visited Haiti of late?
I was there a month after the earthquake to help and volunteer. I was shocked and devastated by all the things I saw. Seeing my country in ruins was heartbreaking, and my people in a state of emergency so sad.
Kreyolicious: Did you get any inspiration from that trip?
The trip inspired me not in an artistic way, but more in a humanistic way. It was refreshing to see people work together and put aside differences for the sake of the people whose lives were in ruin.
Kreyolicious: To all those out there who’d like to become painters, you’d like to say…
Without risk, there can be no glory.
Kreyolicious: Seth Godin calls it The Dip, that part of everyone’s journey, creative or not, when the big obstacles set in. What was your Dip, and how did you overcome it?
I had to find the courage to move to New York, the capital of the art world. I could have stayed in Connecticut and been a big fish in a small pond relatively quickly, instead I risked it all to be a small fish in a big pond…to eventually grow to big fish status.
Kreyolicious: Who has taught you the most about art?
I had many great people in my corner during my education…. they didn’t teach me about art necessarily, but they taught me about sacrifice, staying focused, keeping my eye on the prize, that failure wasn’t an option, how to work hard and be nice.
Kreyolicious: Does it take a lot to inspire a painting?
Inspiration is for amateurs. I just do the work.
[All paintings and images copyright of the artist. ]
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