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Lazarides Gallery gets Cash Injection from Qatari Magnate

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Steve Lazarides, a former photographer turned street art gallerist, said he would use the investment from Wissam al-Mana to move his Lazarides Rathbone gallery from Fitzrovia to Mayfair and to start selling screen prints of street art online.

“I have spent every single penny we have made in this gallery to reinvest and to try to grow it,” he said. “We now have a manufacturing business making screen prints and we have developed our whole ecommerce business. Now we need investment to grow them to what they are capable of.”

But Mr Lazarides would not comment on whether the market for street art is still booming. At the beginning of his relationship with Banksy, Mr Lazarides sold the artist’s screen prints for just £25 each. In 2014, the same prints had risen in value to tens of thousands of pounds.

Mr Lazarides said: “We have had up years and we have had down years. Anywhere between £3m and £5m in terms of turnover. It has been the same for 4-5 years. It is almost entirely dependent on what kind of shows you put on.”

He said his projected move to Mayfair did not run counter to the edgy vibe of the work he deals in.

“These guys [artists] have never been anti-capitalist, they are pro-human rather than anti-capitalist.

“They do not have a strong smash-the-system outlook on life. Even if your paintings are selling at the low end, for £3,000 to £5,000, you have already moved way out of the smash-the-system end of the market.”

“It is about protest, it is quite often political, more political than anti-capitalist. Even Banksy isn’t really anti-capitalist,” he said.

Mr al-Mana is reportedly a billionaire and is also the husband of Janet Jackson, the singer. He owns the al-Mana group, a family company with retail, property and media interests.

Mr Lazarides said he met Mr al-Mana when he visited one of his galleries one day and that his investor was interested in the “visceral feel” of the art he sells.

Article courtesy of the financial times official website. Please click HERE to read the article on the financial times.

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