Artist Patrick Guyton opening downtown Aspen gallery
The painter Patrick Guyton has never followed a traditional fine artist’s path, so it may be unsurprising he is opening his own galleries during a period of international crisis and uncertainty.
“Sure,” Guyton laughed in a recent phone interview. “We said, ‘Let’s wait until there’s a pandemic and the economy crashes and then we’ll move to Aspen!’”
His Patrick Guyton Gallery will open Monday on the Hyman Avenue pedestrian mall. It will showcase a variety of Guyton’s unique work, which utilizes his signature process of using precious metals like gold and silver as a substrate for paintings. The leafing, borrowed from Japanese traditions going back to the 17th century, creates an unusual sheen on the paintings.
In subject matter and style, the work is all over the place, but united by that layer of metal under the surface.
“That’s what allows me a lot of freedom in the work,” Guyton said. “There are days I come in and want to do landscapes, there are days I want to focus on figurative. Having things based on a substrate rather than a subject matter allows so much more freedom as an artist and allows you to go with the flow as an artist. It’s always a discovery.”
The timing of opening an art gallery, or any business, during the pandemic might seem odd. But it’s been right for Guyton. He opened his first namesake gallery in July in Laguna Beach, California. Aspen is his second in what his art dealer, David Smith, plans for a growing presence in luxury resort settings.
Smith, whose father Scott Smith was director of the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport from 1991 to 2003, has been angling to hang up a Guyton shingle here for eight years, he said.
“Aspen is a natural fit for Guyton,” he said. “It’s a great art town and we are completely different from anything else that’s available there now.”
While landing shows at galleries in the U.S. and abroad and building a growing roster of Guyton collectors, the artist’s works have gained a foothold at cruise ship auctions and on-board galleries on several cruise lines.
Smith is positioning Guyton for a post-pandemic moment on land.
“Once this (coronavirus) goes away, people will be traveling and going to these places,” he said. “One of the great things with Guyton’s artwork is that it’s a style nobody has done before.”
Smith has also organized unique events for Guyton collectors, which made Aspen an ideal home. Once such event recently brought collectors to Nevada, where they did a group motorcycle ride through the Valley of Fire, followed by the premiere of new related Guyton artworks in a Las Vegas gallery. Smith is conceiving similar happenings for Aspen.
Guyton said he is excited to have the gallery in such a prominent place on the mall, encouraging passersby to come in and view his work. He noted he’s had pieces sell for more then $250,000, but that some at the Aspen gallery will be under $1,000.
The gallery’s new home is in a historic mining-era building, which Smith and Guyton have restored in recent months, on the Hyman Avenue pedestrian mall.
“It’s one of the oldest original wooden structures in Aspen,” Smith said. “We love the space.”
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The Youth Art Expo will run Feb. 27 through March 14 at the Aspen Art Museum, showcasing work by young artists from Aspen to Rifle.