Banksy’s Former Agent Is Opening an Edgy Curiosities Shop to Sell Artists’ Editions and Items From His Very Strange Personal Collection
Laz Emporium will cater to collectors who have a counter-cultural sensibility.
Banksy’s former agent, Steve Lazarides, is launching an online curiosity shop called Laz Emporium.
The store will sell items from the ex-dealer’s eclectic personal collection, artworks on consignment, and newly commissioned artist objects, prints, and books.
The store opens today, September 3, with a special sale of the second volume of Lazarides’s book of photographs of Banksy in action in the late ’90s and early 2000s, Banksy Captured.
Speaking to Artnet News, Lazarides says that self-publishing the Banksy book was a catalyst for the new project because he realized that he had big enough of an audience to sell without the help of a publisher.
“There was no trying to get it put in Urban Outfitters; we don’t need them,” Lazarides says, explaining that he already has a mailing list of 15,000 people willing to buy books.
The same goes for the artists he plans to work with on the new project, many of whom have hundreds of thousands of followers on their Instagram accounts.
“I think the pandemic’s proven that people who have direct access to their client base are doing very well,” Lazarides says. “So what do they need a gallery for?”
His days of exclusively representing artists are over, and the new project is about having the “ultimate freedom to utilize an image,” be it in a print or on a duvet cover, or even on a set of sex toys.
Lazarides will work with his circle of artists and celebrity collaborators to create editions and unique pieces that will be fabricated at his studio and manufacturing site in the West Country.
The ex-street art dealer announced his retirement from the traditional gallery world last year, leaving his Mayfair space, Lazinc, in the hands of cofounder Wissam Al Mana.
“It feels freeing to no longer be shackled by a permanent space or the movement that I’ve been associated with for the past two decades,” he says. He adds that he had become jaded with the art world over years of observing art lovers turn into art investors.
“As the years have gone by, it seemed to become more and more vanilla and nobody wanted to take a risk, not the artist or the gallery or the client,” Lazarides says.
The new enterprise puts the pin in rumors that Lazarides plans to set up his own Banksy consultancy business, although the ever-frank dealer says he is still open to Banksy advisory proposals that come with a hefty paycheck.
Works from Lazarides’s own collection by artists including Conor Harrington and 3D (Massive Attack’s Robert del Naja) will also be up for sale. But the dealer’s eclectic collection, accrued over 20 years, also extends to pop culture artifacts and curiosities he calls “objets d’anarchy.”
“I am an absolute magpie,” he says, explaining that many of the items in his collection, such as a case of prison shanks or a Braille edition of Playboy Magazine, will attract a more edgy, counter-cultural audience of collectors.
Price points for the wares range from £75 up to £100,000, and Lazarides promises price transparency.
He says the new enterprise reminds him of his first business, a limited-edition print store called Pictures on Walls, as he intends to offer more democratic access to art to different levels of collectors, from blue-chip art buyers to those looking to decorate their bedrooms.
In addition to the online store, Lazarides hopes to open a physical store in London’s Soho.
Follow artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.