The start of the year was pretty chaotic for gallery owner and director Eleni Duke. After finally getting away (and quickly) from an unpleasant situation involving a difficult landlord, she has started fresh at a new location in London. She was gracious to answer a few questions for us on how life is running Curious Duke Gallery. With her positive and determined attitude, a collection of fantastic work, and a strong team 2014 looks to be a Eleni’s best year yet!
This Thursday Curious Duke Gallery will be launching their new space at the open of Curio-City Show. If in London, please come support!
What is your job title/role/business?
I am the owner and founder of Curious Duke Gallery. At Curious Duke we specialise in representing unique surrealist and urban emerging artists and my job is to mentor and support my artists and to promote and sell art work.
What first inspired your interest in Art?
I have always been a very visual person and taken interest in both art and architectural history. I am completely fascinated about how a work of art can be such a powerful tool throughout the development of humanity. However, I would have to say that it was a school trip to Rome at the age of 14 that first ignited my interest in the arts.
What advice do you offer most to new art buyers?
Buy something that you love. Don’t buy something that you think you should have in your home because others will like it…you will be living with it so buy something that you enjoy, that intrigues you and that sparks your own curiosity.
What prior experience prepared you most for this profession? What have you learned in the past few years in the profession that you tell other starting out?
I used to curate an art gallery for an East End community arts centre called Oxford House. I learnt here how to hang, curate and publicise exhibitions. It was also here that I learnt that running an art gallery is not all glamour and how much fun it can be getting involved in all aspects of organising a commercial art exhibition.
What type of art do you select for your gallery?
At Curious Duke we represent surrealist and urban art work. I select art that I love and am intrigued about; art work that I would happily have in my own home. Though it’s not just the art work I focus on it is also the artists themselves. I like to work with artists who are dynamic and spirited when it comes to their practice. It is always great to work with an artist who is driven and passionate about what they do and when this is the case the execution and the end result of the work is phenomenal.
How do you make your gallery/business/services known?
We have many different ways of promoting our shows. Our biggest attraction is our new gallery space on Whitecross Street (173). Although we sell art works online it makes all the difference to our customers for them to see it in the flesh. We are also very active on social media and appear at several different art fairs around the country.
What advice do you offer to Artists who want to submit work to galleries in general?
DO YOUR RESEARCH! If you are a traditional landscape painter don’t apply to an urban art gallery. Get to know the type of work the gallery represents and who their client base is. It could be more detrimental to you and your career to be with the wrong gallery
What are your plans for 2014?
On Thursday 20th February we will be launching the new Curious Duke Gallery space and from April 2014 we will be hosting a series of 3 solo shows with Roy’s People, Tannaz Oroumchi and Andrea Tyrimos. On top of this we will be launching a new art prize (details will be revealed soon). It is going to be a very busy year for the Curious Duke Gallery.