If one is fortunate enough to accumulate a certain amount of capital and status, the cultivation of an art collection transforms into something of a foregone conclusion. In the case of Gardy St. Fleur, a Haitian-born, native-to-Flatbush art advisor whose profile has been lately skyrocketing, NBA superstars make up the bulk of his clientele. Kyrie Irving was introduced to the work of Awol Erizku via St. Fleur, and Amare Stoudemire, Ronnie Price and the ultra-famous ballerina Misty Copeland can also count on St. Fleur to hone their personal collections. However, St. Fleur’s work isn’t limited to assisting high-profile clients: he’s extremely passionate about rediscovering and elevating BIPOC artists, as well as purchasing estates associated with Black artists in order to help cement their legacies.
Observer caught up with St. Fleur on Friday to discuss his fascinating ongoing projects, his robust personal art collection and the possibilities created by exploding recent interest in digital art and NFTs.
Observer: Could you tell me about some artists that you’ve been really excited about recently?
St. Fleur: Bethany Collins, Alvaro Barrington, Cindy Ji Hye Kim. There’s an artist that’s graduating, that’s just finishing school right now whose name is Chibuike Uzoma who’s doing these beautiful works. There was no access to his work until he finished school, so there are a lot of things happening for him that are going to be exciting.
What about his work really stood out to you?
His early works that I have are works that have a lot to do with his upbringing in Nigeria, and those works also reference political unrest in Nigeria. I have the whole Muhammadu Buhari minister series; that’s the political group that’s currently in power in Nigeria. As a person that’s from Haiti, and as a person that came from a family that was in politics, we share a very similar history of how political unrest is in these countries. Nigeria’s far away from Haiti, but they’re very similar in terms of how elections are run. The works that I have are these beautiful paintings that look like falling-apart election posters. When I first saw the Buhari minister series, I already knew this body of work; I get it because I came from a family that was involved in political things in Haiti and I know how things process in these countries. There’s always some sort of corruption, there’s always these parties that makes these false promises.
Are there any ongoing projects you’re working on with clients that you could tell me about?
I’m always constantly supporting artists and younger gallerists with great programs, so during Covid I’ve been doing a lot of interesting social justice work and I’ve been inquiring about works from different auction houses. I’m planning to organize a show as well. Covid is interesting, because I have client’s who’ll ask me ‘Gardy, what are artists working on right now?’ It’s interesting how clients are interested in how this whole pandemic affects creating, and in what work that’s being done during the pandemic. A lot of 2020 work has been inquired about.
How are you feeling about the explosion in interest in digital art that’s taken place as recently as over the last few weeks?
I’m interested in new media art; I’m interested in artists that are innovating with these new ideas to do with creating art. I have a young artist that’s exploring NFTs right now, which is fine with me! When I’m looking at a work like that, or I have an artist that’s thinking about this new way of using social media and cryptocurrency while also using paint, with her body of work? Oh my god, why not? It’s thrilling. The NBA’s making money off it, too!
Have any of your NBA clients talked to you about NFTs?
Yes, some started talking to me about it. Ronnie Price was talking about it, because players are always in tune with what’s happening and are really aware.