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Growing up, art for him only existed on the outside of buildings.
Showing me around the exhibition, he pauses at some canvases by Robert "3D" Del Naja, the Massive Attack singer-cum-graffiti artist. I used to get the bus in from the estate I lived in to go and see his graffiti. " Later, chatting by telephone, he tells me that one of his friends was a "kid called Inkie", another of the Bristol graffiti alumni.
And, as the man behind Banksy tells Susie Mesure, his critics can go hang There is nothing subtle about the image that hits visitors stepping into the Lazarides Rathbone gallery just off Oxford Street.Lucy Mc Lauchlan, whose work features in "Still Here", says Lazarides encouraged "adventure and freedom – much needed when you're trying to make sense of collating 'street' works into an indoor exhibition space".The upshot, adds 3D, is that "art's no longer the preserve of the middle class and the wealthy".It depicts a black man, in a monochrome print, locking you into a stare before your eyes shift to the object he is brandishing. It's a camera'." For Lazarides, who is walking me through the Fitzrovia townhouse showcasing his tenth-anniversary exhibition, the piece, by the French photographer JR, is a useful lesson in not stereotyping."That's probably one of my favourite pieces," says Steve Lazarides, a smile breaking out across his lean face. Lazarides is particularly sick of people typecasting the likes of JR as street artists, which is possibly a bit rich.
Mental capacity is limitless when the plot is at stake!