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Laz Emporium: The post-Covid lifestyle brand from Steve Lazarides
Banksy Captured © Steve Lazarides.

LONDON.- ‘Accidental art dealer’ Steve Lazarides announces the launch of Laz Emporium, an “eclectic bazaar” reinventing the curiosity shop for our post-Covid age. Laz Emporium is supported by an artisan studio in Lazarides’ native West Country, equipped with state-of-the-art printing and manufacturing devices.

Lazarides’ circle of artists, plus new creative collaborators, are already at work on distinctive and desirable editions and one-offs to be sold via both online and physical Laz Emporium stores. While Laz Emporium focuses primarily on furniture, homeware, publishing and printing, its heterodox inventory will include all manner of pop culture artefacts and objets d’anarchy. Many will be imported from Lazarides’ own collection, built up over many years operating at the cutting edge of the global arts movement.

“An emporium is ‘a store carrying many different kinds of merchandise’ – an eclectic and intriguing range of stock,” says Lazarides, My collection is the product of my bipolar mind, always leaping from one area of fascination to another. So ‘emporium’ made for a more fitting description than ‘gallery’ (been there, done that) or something trendy, which I could never countenance, like ‘marketplace’.”

Laz Emporium will launch with Banksy Captured Volume Two, the follow-up to the self-published international smash hit, Banksy Captured Volume One featuring Lazarides’ 1990s and 2000s photographs of Banksy at work. Harking back to Lazarides’ first limited-edition print business, Pictures on Walls, which saw artist’s ‘drops’ coveted by discerning young collectors, Laz Emporium is a democratic and accessible platform where art and design will be available to purchase in many different mediums and price ranges. Moreover, Laz Emporium is a family business; Lazarides’ parents are handling the warehouse and distribution.

Lifestyles are shifting post-Covid-19: we are rediscovering our admiration for the tactile, the unusual and the meaningful. Our close environments and personal stories take more precedence. With Laz Emporium, Lazarides reinvents the domestic art market once again for this new paradigm.

Bristol-born, London-based Steve Lazarides is a publisher, photographer, collector and curator. In the 1980s, he started out with a Nikon F-Type camera documenting his surrounding environments as a rebellious yet determined photography student. He subsequently worked as a photographer for definitive style bibles and cultural trailblazing magazines such as Sleaze Nation and The Face. Pursuing his passion for creating a visual narrative, Lazarides delved deep into British sub-cultures and portrayed the youth of his generation partaking in underground movements such as the UK Rave scene in the early 90s; skate culture and the rise of outsider street art.

Commissioned by chance to photograph Banksy’s portrait in 1997, he continued to work with the artist in many capacities, including as the anonymous artist’s driver and photographer, before eventually becoming his gallerist.

In 2006, at the age of 37, Lazarides accidentally launched his gallery empire with his first space in London’s Soho. Lazarides become one of the most pioneering London-based dealers and went on to launch the careers of numerous boldface names, including Invader, JR, Vhils, The Miaz Brothers amongst others. Exhibiting artwork primarily inspired by graffiti and the urban environment, including the work of Banksy, he endorsed a group of artists who collectively, defy categorization.

Lazarides has both organised and curated numerous shows, taking over temporary locations in London, Los Angeles and New York, generating a booming interest in 'street art' that others proceeded to capitalise on.

The epic ‘Hell’s Half Acre’ (2010), ‘The Minotaur’ (2011) and ‘Bedlam’ (2012) exhibitions which ran over Frieze week in The Old Vic Tunnels with Kevin Spacey were a huge success and met with critical acclaim. In 2013, Lazarides teamed up with The Vinyl Factory to present ‘Brutal’ at 180 The Strand during London Frieze Week. In 2016, Lazarides began exploring his personal photography archive and has spent the last four years carefully sifting through a collection of 100,000 images containing roughly 12,000 photographs he took whilst documenting the birth of a legend. The result is a candid photographic overview of the 11 years Lazarides spent as agent, photographer and right-hand man to one of today’s most famous artist in the form of the books, Banksy Captured Volume I & Volume II.

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