IN HENRY’S HOUSEFebruary 12, 2015
In Henry Relph’s house you’ll find walls filled with original artworks, stacks of vintage vinyl, and what’s more, a dog called Nelly. What else would you expect from an international DJ and avid art collector?
To find out a little more about Henry and his home, we headed down to his South London flat for some coffee and conversation.
UO: So Henry, you’re an art fanatic and collector. How did it that all begin?
HENRY: Being a DJ has allowed me to travel the world to play some memorable parties, and on one occasion, around six years ago, I played at a 30th in Greece for the son of an important art collector.
Afterwards he showed me some of his collection and I fell in love with a sculpture by Urs Fischer. Here began my journey into the contemporary art world. Nowadays I’m curating for a foundation based in Holland and developing my own art advisory company so that I can help people build collections of their own.
UO: It seems you have a thing for New York artists…
H: Haha yeah it might seem like that! Its not intentional but I find New York has its own special way of producing art stars. A few artists that I’m obsessing over at the moment are Devin Troy Strother, Jamian Juliano Vianni, Justin Adian, Torey Thornton, Katherine Bernhardt, Lucien Smith and the Still House Group.
UO: What’s your favourite piece in the collection?
H: That’s an extremely difficult question to ask any art collector! I love everything but if I were pushed into a corner I would have to say this Eddie Martinez piece. I had the pleasure of visiting his studio in Brooklyn last summer and instantly fell in love with the work. His paintings have a raw energy about them that can only be felt when you see one in person.
UO: You’ve been the man behind the decks for the best part of your adult life, how important is music to you?
H: My dad was a jazz drummer in the 70’s and 80’s so I grew up with music being an everyday part of my life. I remember he took me to a Steve Gadd concert once and he handed me his sweaty drumsticks after the set, I still have them and they definitely still smell. He also took me on a trip to New York when I was a boy and we went to the blue note records jazz club, I will never forget that.
UO: That’s a sizeable amount of vinyl you’ve got going on, how many do you have in your collection?
I’d say around 1,000 – it’s a real mixed bag as I am lucky enough to have my dad’s collection too. Think Earth Wind and Fire and Average White Band to Roy Davis Jr and Stardust’s Music sounds Better With You. I find there is much more of a visual association with records as they have the most incredible artwork hidden away in the sleeves.
UO: So you’re a self confessed interior addict, what is it about making an amazing space to live in that pushes your buttons?
H: I think Interiors and art go hand in hand. Galleries are great and definitely serve a purpose but they can be quite stark sometimes, so it’s wonderful to see a work come alive when you live with it and play around with different juxtapositions. My dream home would be a mid century ranch house filled top to bottom with iconic design pieces, vintage rugs and modern art. I think its very important to feel inspired while you are in your own home as its an extension of you as a person.
UO: You’re dating famed foodie Melissa Hemsley and your kitchen is full of healthy treats, we’re guessing food and health is a major part of your life?
H: Melissa and I met over a conversation about a blender believe it or not, so yes it’s a huge part of my life and I have definitely started to explore deeper into the world of healthy eating since we have been together.
I’m also pretty handy in the kitchen myself, I’m cooking Onglet and celeriac chips for friends tonight. However, one of the things that Melissa has taught me since we have been together is that eating well doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive – she really is the queen of leftovers.
UO: What’s your most prized possession?
H: It’s going to have to be my blue staffy Nelly. Getting a dog was the best decision I’ve ever made, she creates the perfect balance to my life and lives a very healthy lifestyle herself. We spend most weekends in Brockwell Park together and I feed her vita coco coconut oil every morning. She even has her own Instagram page @nellytheblue.