By Michael Adams
Headshot by Thomas Watkins
Janie Stanfield had a childhood she calls “magical and surreal.” Now the principal and president of Soho Myriad, a full-service art consulting company, Stanfield grew up in a Northern Georgia household filled with music. “My father was a country singer,” she recounts. “He had nominal success as an opening act for legends like Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, and Earl Scruggs. My mother worked as a bookkeeper to support her five children and her soon-to-be country music star!”
Stanfield describes a household filled with musical joy–"steel guitars, banjos, fiddles, you name it. The guys were drinking and smoking and doing what they called ‘picking,’ and we kids hung around fetching food and drinks and dancing.” But the dream turned out to be just that. Facing reality, her father moved the family to Atlanta to take a job as a Chevrolet salesman. For Stanfield, the move was a revelation, opening her world to more music, as well as literature, fine art, and dance. But ever cognizant of her father’s struggles, she decided it was better to “have a job rather than a dream.” Her numbers skills seemed to suggest a career in accounting or teaching, so she graduated from Georgia State University with a math degree.
But her love for creating art, “whatever form it took,” subsumed her more practical leanings; she first took a job in a gallery, then backpacked through Europe. “It was an unbelievable experience,” she says. “It was a time when security was low and you could walk [into museums] and touch a Botticelli. I knew then I was destined to be part of the art scene.”
On her return to Georgia, she opened a gallery in Decatur, bartending three nights a week for four years to keep her business afloat. “The excitement and the passion had me hooked!” she says. “I realized I was the perfect facilitator for artists. I understood their energy, their sensitivities—even their self-traumatized lives!”
Stanfield’s endeavors ultimately resulted in a partnership with Roger Caplan. Her Soho Workshop and his Myriad Fine Art galleries combined to create Soho Myriad in 1991 (Caplan is the CEO and CFO of the company). “The chemistry between a posh boarding-school Brit and a free-spirited North Georgia country gal has made for a winning combo. I don’t think either of us would have been quite so successful without the other.”
“Successful” for Soho Myriad now means four offices—Atlanta, London, West Palm Beach, Florida, and Los Angeles—and a hotel client list that includes Ritz-Carlton, Hilton, St. Regis, Four Seasons, Rosewood, and Mandarin Oriental. They source paintings, prints, sculptures, and feature pieces for hotel spaces that, in the words of their slogan, “defines [a client’s] identity through art.”