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Banksy’s Former Agent Retires From Gallery World As It Is Too Focused On Money
By Thanussha Priyah, 11 Sep 2019
Image via Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock.com
With 15 years as a street art dealer and a couple of years in a gallery, Steve Lazarides is leaving the gallery scene to achieve his solo pursuits.
Lazarides entered the art world firstly as Banksy’s driver, followed by his photographer and, later, his art dealer.
“I never f**king wanted to be a gallerist, I never wanted to sell f**king paintings,” Lazarides candidly told the The Art Newspaper. All he wanted to do, Lazarides added, was to “promote a subculture that was being overlooked.”
When Lazarides launched his last gallery, Lazinc, in Mayfair with Qatari tycoon Wissam Al Mana in 2018, they showcased works from artists including JR, Rammellzee and Jonathan Yeo. However, he claimed “the snobbery of the art world,” along with his desire to get back to photography and popup exhibits he had set up for Banksy led him to reconsider his career.
To him, the gallery scene became all about the “monetary value,” and he felt that he couldn’t keep up with it anymore.
Since his departure, Lazarides has set up new offices on Greek Street, where he launched his first gallery in 2004. His first project since moving on has been to look through 12,000 photographs he took over the span of 11 years with Banksy, which he will narrow down and publish into a 252-page book titled Banksy Captured next month.
He will also be launching a website to put his photographs up for sale with £450 (US$556) as the starting price.
“It’s harking back to Pictures on Walls, which was about affordable art for everyone,” Lazarides referred to the screen-printing endeavor he launched with Banksy. He is also working on a three-day show of the prints in north London and a “proper Laz-style party” after.
Lazarides stopped consuming alcohol around the time he was clinically diagnosed as bipolar, and this has been a root for him to start a charity, Off-Ends, which will aid underprivileged youths to attain experience in the art scene through workshops he will be holding in London. He is currently in the midst of looking at venues.
Despite his solo pursuits, he will not be cutting ties with the art market completely. He is looking to assemble an art consultancy but isn’t quite clear if he will feature Banksy in the limelight.
“I’ve never really traded on my Banksy knowledge but maybe I will start pitching myself as a world expert,” he explained. “Everyone else has made money out of this apart from me.”
[via The Art Newspaper, image via Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock.com]
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