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Monolith Screenshot from the film 'Monolith' with the work of Gwyneth Leech
“I’m leaving.”

That was artist Gwyneth Leech’s first thought when hearing the news that a Times Square hotel was to rise on an empty lot outside her her 13th-floor Midtown West studio, blocking the views.

The light on the surrounding buildings changes according to the season, time of day and weather, and she has incorporated her views into both canvas paintings and her signature coffee cup art. As the new building threatened to interfere with her studio’s views, the feeling was comparable to watching loved ones die. The Monolith, a video about her experience, adds to the sense of foreboding by opening with ominous music.
 
As time passed and construction progressed, Ms. Leech’s initial revulsion gave way to fascination with the process and the images outside her window. The arrival of the floors brought new colors, patterns, materials, and movements that found their way into her work, which soon outgrew the coffee cups and demanded larger canvases. Later, the self-described procrastinator started to come in early to watch the light of the sunrise play across the site. Construction workers took notice too, and their smiling, waving figures found their way into her paintings.

However, the completion of the hotel found her mourning the loss of both the city views and a creative journey. The hotel's guest rooms and outdoor patio look out on the views that brought Ms. Leech such inspiration.
 
 
 
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Element Times Square guest room
Element Times Square outdoor patio
Content Specialist Michelle Mazzarella Michelle is a contributing writer and editor for real estate news in New York City
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