Collector Questionnaire

Cultured Collections with Gardy St. Fleur

Gardy St. Fleur in his living room. Artwork by Tabita Rezaire.
Gardy St. Fleur in his living room. Artwork by Tabita Rezaire.

Elizabeth Fazzare: How did you begin to build your own collection?

Gardy St. Fleur: It was natural to collect art because I grew up surrounded by it. My father had an art collection and even commissioned artists to create works in Haiti. My art collection started when I was fourteen years old. At that time, I had a summer job and saved money to acquire my first piece. Growing up in Brooklyn, many of my friends were artists.

Florine Demosthene's “Untitled,” 2018.

EF: What pieces inspired you to continue?

GSF: I can’t name one particular piece. Artists have a profound impact on my resolve to collect art. Artists have a view of the world that can speak to what cannot be said by words. The art that I collect challenges me, educates me and invokes so many emotions and spirits. I am inspired when I visit an artist’s studio and witness their creation and creative process. I am in awe of the intellectual exercise that allows an artist to turn a vision or inspiration into art. Both the older and newer generation of artists have inspired me to continue collecting and to uplift artists in any way that I can.

EF: What designers/artists are inspiring you right now?

GSF: Artist Chibuike Uzoma: I am inspired by his confidence in art and his determination to build his career on his terms. He is among the up-and-coming artists that refuse to allow the art market to determine their career path for them. I love that!

Peter Mabeo of Mabeo Furniture: Despite his global recognition, he stays true to his native soil. He continues to create opportunities for others in his country.

Ouigi Theodore of The Brooklyn Circus: Ouigi is not just a designer, he is a mentor to the younger generation. There are many apprentices that learned under his craftsmanship and have gone on to do so many great things.

Artist William Villalongo: I admire how William combines the synergy of art history, world history and current events.

Artist Nandi Loaf: Nandi is inventive and creates her own format where she uses social media, cryptocurrency and technology as her medium.

gardy st. fleur
Gardy St. Fleur in the living room, sitting in front of Chibuike Uzoma's "Buhari Minister” series.

EF: Does the marketplace help your discovery process? Why or why not?

GSF: The marketplace overlooks so many talented artists, especially artists of color and women, so it would be imprudent to use it as a guide for my discovery process. My discovery process involves so many layers; I read, travel, meet people and most importantly, I am open. That openness naturally directs me to discover amazing artists. The marketplace cannot determine creativity, and for me, art is personal and spiritual.

EF: What is the next piece on your radar?

GSF: A deity piece by Hector Hyppolite and works by Julie Creuzet, Samuel Hindolo, Naira Mushtaq, Omari Douglin, Peter Bradley, Rachel E. Williams and Rachel Jones.

EF: What is the one piece that got away?

GSF: Too many to name, but I think about them often.

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