Artist Name: Blek le Rat
Real Name: Xavier Prou
About: Pioneering French graffiti, Blek Le Rat was one of the first true street artists, often described as the “Father of stencil graffiti”. He was born on 15 November 1952 in Boulogne-Billancourt in the western suburbs of Paris.
Blek began his artwork in 1981, painting hundreds of rats on the walls of Paris. He described the rat as “the only free animal in the city” and one which “spreads the plague everywhere, just like street art”. His name originates from the comic book Blek le Roc, using “rat” as an anagram for “art”.
Initially influenced by the early graffiti-art of New York City after a visit in 1971, he chose a style which he felt better suited Paris, due to the differing architecture of the two cities. In 1985, he was on the first meeting of the graffiti and urban art movement in France, with Speedy Graphito, Kim Prisu, Miss Tic, SP 38, Epsylon Point, Jef Aérosol, Futura 2000, Nuklé-Art and Banlieue-Banlieue.
His work served as one of the inspirations for artists like Banksy and Space Invader. In recent years Blek’s work has become more political, focusing on the homeless, the environment, and other social causes. His posters of kidnapped French journalist Florence Aubenas helped raised public awareness of her situation, pressuring politicians and journalists to work harder for her release.
Where you can see it: Paris, Berlin, London, New York, Florence, Los Angeles, California and Mexico, just to name a few.
PRINT CODE: help tagging Blek le Rat in the streets of your city!