Cassius Colman is the co-owner and curator of Nelly Duff.

Nelly Duff is a print and art gallery located on the popular Columbia Road in Shoreditch. The gallery was one of the first physical spaces to exhibit Street Art internationally, and their limited editions are coveted by museums and private collectors across the globe.

Our Blog

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You’ve become known for a very specific style of work – can you talk us through what that is?
Nelly Duff reflects our neighbourhood over the last 12 years, the east London street art revolution, the tattoo explosion and fine art agitators.  A melting pot of the great and the good.  It’s also a reflection of the curator’s ever-evolving tastes.  We are unique in that we publish special editions from these pioneering east London and international artists at the forefront of their chosen disciplines in the art world.

What do you look for in a new artist?
When we are looking for a new artist, we are looking for someone who blows us away, their artwork should give us goosebumps. The artists should try to make a statement with their work, be it visually or in its message. If their work stands out, then it has unique qualities that we want to support and develop. 

You’ve spoken before about nurturing relationships with your artists – why is this so important to you?
We believe we can offer our artists some amazing resources to hone their output, we are ultimately collectors and we want to be involved in publishing the best editions in the world. We love working with brilliant artists who allow their work to breathe and allow us, their partner (or stakeholders as like I call us) the opportunity to make the sum of the parts even better through collaboration.

 

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What is it about London, more specifically East London that makes it a perfect home for your business?
East London is the most exciting part of London, from Shoreditch all the way east through Hoxton, Broadway market, London fields, Hackney, Clapton and Hackney Wick. There is always something new and amazing to see in this vibrant community. We love the energy of the east end, the creative industry leads the way in this part of London and is admired throughout the UK, Europe and the rest of the World. It would be hard not to have a base here.

If you had to choose a piece on exhibition at the moment that best describes the ideals of Nelly Duff, what would it be?
Matt Small Frankie, it has everything: Skill, technique, abstraction, love, raw talent and amazing colours. A socially responsible artist who has an amazing artistic statement. The edition we published has a brilliant print quality and the artwork is very engaged.

What is it about Shoreditch that inspires you the most?
There are some amazing pioneering businesses in the East: The Hackney Temple – a new vegan restaurant, the pioneering household goods shop Labour and Wait, or just a simple old school salmon bagel from the 24hr bagel bake. Bread and food at the E5 bakehouse…  We went to our first sober rave at Oval space called Morning Glory, it starts at 6.30am and goes till 10am. There’s just too many places to mention. 

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What do you love most about your surrounding community?
The creativity.  But one thing that is getting better and better all the time is the food that is being offered in East London. I would suggest a beautiful little Italian restaurant called Campania in Ezra Street, E2 or to head down to the pioneering Bistroteque. We love spending some time down in Hackney Wick where a lot of our ground-breaking artists live in light industrial Victorian warehouses, alongside the lovely canals at the edge of the new Olympic park.

In years to come, what would you like the Nelly Duff legacy to be remembered for?
We want people to feel inspired and nurtured within their homes through pioneering artistic output and uplifting artwork. Some of our clients have purchased collections whose value have increased by the tenfold, whether it was a Banksy from us in the early days, a Ben Eine or Dan Hillier. We want people to come to Nelly Duff looking for artists with exciting careers ahead. 

What piece would you suggest to a resident of Long & Waterson for their new home?
Remi Rough dissension: it’s an amazing ten colour screen-print, hand finished to a small number of prints. His work has adorned the walls of the area and other cities around the world. It is mature, sophisticated and stylish, just like the show apartment I visited, brilliantly styled by Monologue by the way.