This year at One Herald Plaza, the Art Miami fair once again welcomed an international coalition of artists, gallerists, collectors, enthusiasts and the art-curious. Among rows of contemporary art, the charming NYC-based fine artist Guy Stanley Philoche debuted a love letter to his hometown with the New York, I Still Love You series. Comprised of 10 mixed-media paintings, the collection was exhibited by Cavalier Gallery. Between Philoche’s optimistic vision and the paintings’ conceptual layers, the entire set became a highlight of Miami Art Week.
Philoche says all of this was possible thanks to the freedom his gallery provided. “No one knew about this. For three months, I did not post anything or show anybody. I just had this idea,” he tells us during a walk-through of the Cavalier Gallery booth. “I remember the gallery coming to my studio and asking to see something. I said, ‘Trust me, I think this is going to be cool.'” Before the fair, some collectors offered to buy works site-unseen. With Art Miami’s opening, passersby frequently paused in front of the paintings—admiring them for their hopefulness and the inspiration behind them.
“I’ve lived in NYC for over 20 years. New York has always been good to me,” Philoche says. “This series is to let people know that New York is not dead. For the past year, everyone was saying that. Everyone was talking about how many people left.”
To bring the idea together, he says, “I took several things that I love about New York—the Statue of Liberty, bodega coffee, the Village Voice, The Apollo, pizza rat and more—and I combined them with Polaroids.”
From start to finish, each painting takes about two weeks to produce. Philoche scouts locations and snaps Polaroids first. Some of the paintings are based on these photos, others (like the aforementioned pizza rat) are from his imagination. All of them incorporate artistic additions; little flourishes that range from stencils to geometric airplanes.
This series is for people who left NYC and still want to be a part of it—and for the people that held on and made it through
“We were all anticipating this,” Cavalier’s director, Lindsay Ebanks, says. “He would drop little hints about what it was going to be about. We chatted about what he was going to focus on and how it would relate to what we’ve all experienced from him over the last few years. His last series was about bringing joy and uplifting people in a hard time. This is about what’s important to him as we recover from what we’ve all gone through.”
It’s a potentially endless series, he says, as inspiration abounds. “This series is for people who left NYC and still want to be a part of it—and for the people that held on and made it through,” he says. That message is imbued with a certain vibrant energy that radiates from each painting.
Hero image by David Graver