Henry Relph is an international DJ and an art collector based in London.
How does traveling the world as a DJ affect your relationship with contemporary art?
I am very lucky to have traveled the world for work and I always try to drop into shows or museums in the cities that I visit along the way. Sometimes it’s a short layover so I see what I can on the fly. I will always remember spotting an Os Gêmeos street mural in Mumbai from the inside of my cab. New York is my favorite city to visit specifically to see art. The level and variety of content is just incomparable to any other city: one day you’re at blue chip galleries in Chelsea, the next visiting studios in Bushwick. Not to mention the vast network of collectors and artists to meet up with in between.
What was the first piece in your collection? How has your approach to collecting changed over the years?
I think the first serious work in my collection was a gouache on paper by Jo Jackson. It was a commission and the start of my journey into the art world. Jo is part of the Mission School movement and also wife to Chris Johanson. Over time, I’ve definitely learned to be more patient when it comes to building a collection. Generally, I think my approach to collecting has stayed pretty consistent: do your research, trust your gut and above all else, only buy what you love.
How has collecting fostered unique relationships and experiences in your life?
For me art is a universal language and collecting is a lifelong commitment. Through collecting I’ve met fantastic people, had unforgettable experiences and formed wonderful relationships along the way. As much as I love to visit an artist’s studio, it’s just as exciting to visit other collectors’ homes. There’s a sense of anxiousness before arriving. You’re wondering what they’re going to have and what you’re going to want to take away with you! I’ll never forget the experience of a private tour of the home of collector Dakis Joannou. I was so excited by it all that I don’t think I said anything for the first 30 minutes.
What are your favorite resources to find out about what’s happening in the art world?
You mean apart from ART YO? : ) Instagram is my go-to source. It’s exposed me to more content than ever before and lets me subscribe to what’s happening right now in the art world. More uniquely, you get to see art from many different perspectives – from curators, collectors, galleries and the artists themselves. It’s as close as you can get without actually flying in to see the art in person. I’d have to say IG definitely helps me make better decisions about which pieces to buy.
I’m also a big fan of the good old fashioned face-to-face meet and greets. Art dinners and openings are a great way of forging relationships and catching up with people. I also try and visit as many studios as possible, because I find that spending time with an artist in the place they work can really help you to understand their thought process.
Are there any upcoming shows you’re excited about?
Yes! So many to mention. Some that I am particularly excited about are Katherine Bernhardt at Venus Over Manhattan in NYC, Alex Becerra at Levy.Delval, Neil Raitt at Nicelle Beauchene, Michael Rey at Office Baroque, Torey Thornton at Stuart Shave/Modern Art and Eddie Martinez‘s first show with Mitchell-Innes & Nash.