Steve Lazarides was Banksy’s dealer. Now he’s co-curating a show at the Old Vic with Kevin Spacey. Lazarides has a real talent for attracting actors and celebrities to his art and artists. Here he talks to Vanity Fair about his new show with works by Jonathan Yeo, Polly Morgan and 18 others. But, of course, the talk turns to Banksy:
How did you and Banksy hook up?
I photographed him. And he kept phoning me, telling me where he put pieces so I could go and photograph them and then one day he needed a lift somewhere—he was going back to Bristol and he was going to get these screen prints he’d made and offered me a ten’er—and I was like ‘I’ll buy the fucking lot and sell them for 35 quid.’ So we went into business with me selling the screen prints. He kind of had an agent at the time, but I ended up selling far more than his agent did.
But now you guys have broken up, so to speak. What happened?
We spent about 10 years together, and I wanted to branch out. You have to grow up. Otherwise you just look like a fool. We haven’t really spoken to each other in a long time; to be honest, I have no idea where he is. And it gave me much more capacity to work with everyone else. It was an amazing ride and I wouldn’t be here without it, but I don’t necessarily miss it.
It’s like when you’re in a relationship and people don’t define you as an individual; they define you as a couple.
And it annoys him far more than it annoys me. [Laughs] A decade is long time, especially when you’re both as driven as we are.