It is busy summer for Street Art in London. In July, Steve Lazarides curated the stunning exhibition “BANKSY- The Unauthorised Retrospective” in Sotheby’s S2 Gallery in Mayfair, London. Steve Lazarides, collector and gallery owner, is one of the first figures to recognise the importance of street art in modern culture and bring it from the street into the gallery, in part through his two galleries in London and one in Newcastle.
Lazarides’ flagship gallery Lazarides Rathbone was established in 2009 to show art from “talented mavericks and outsiders”. He says, “What started out as a halfway house for the urban art movement has grown into an internationally recognised gallery. Admittedly this has surprised us as much as it has anyone else. Our aim is to make each show an interesting experience, and remind everyone that art is there to be enjoyed.”.
Currently on show is the first exhibition in London by Moscow-based artist Misha Most who is an active member of one of Moscow’s primary graffiti groups and a leading Russian contemporary artist. “The Warning” shows work in a variety of media created in a two residency at Lazaride’s new London-based studios. Misha Most uses security material recovered from an unused KGB typography print house and adapts the style of Russian cold war civil defence advertising to challenge the viewer on the absurdity of many of our structures and ideologies and which today still result in so much destruction.
At Lazarides’ other London base, The Outsiders, in Soho, the street artist Sickboy is showing his first London gallery show with “Make It Last Forever”, a multi-media exhibition designed for the two floors of the gallery.
Sickboy is one of the street artists who emerged from the Bristol street scene. He lived in Barcelona for a period and his work now has some of the influences of the Spanish surrealists. He has commented that the Spanish street artist La Mano has been a major influence. “At the time, graffiti was mainly seen as letter-based, but [Le Mano] just used a logo and repeated it… I’d never been a big fan of stencil work, which is where a lot of people think graffiti crosses over into more acceptable street art. La Mano stuck more closely to the graffiti aspect, which I try to adhere to now. I like the freehand, grab-a-tin-of-spray-paint approach”
Known for his temple logo and his ‘Save the Youth’ slogan, Sickboy moved to London in 2007 and his street art is evident in the East End of the city.
The bold, colourful show at The Outsiders displays the wide variety of Sickboy’s work including playful and surreal cosmic canvases and prints, sculpture and a technicolour installation.
“Successfully transposing his controversial and subversive street exploits into the gallery environment, Sickboy seeks to highlight our transcient and fragile existence by asking how we can Make It Last Forever”
Meanwhile new street art was created with Global Street Art at the South Bank Centre during their “Urban Weekend” at the end of July, to add to the murals by Roa and Phlegm painted on the facade of the Queen Elizabeth Hall in spring 2013. Street artist Ewelina Koszykowska took inspiration from the two-month Festival of Love at the South Bank Centre and Rodin’s The Kiss for her romantic work and Dan Kitchener created an urban work called “Neon City” while CEPT @ceptronix was inspired by “The Smiths” for his colourful street art creation.