Blek le Rat - Artist Profile

Who is Blek Le Rat? 

    Recognized as the leader of Paris street art, Blek le Rat (born Xavier Prou in 1952 in Paris) was painting dedicated pieces in the roads since the early eighties. Blek chose to paint rats because they symbolize the urban environment as well as the marginalized members of society. Next, so as to be quicker and avoid being re-arrested, the artist started pasting up pre-stencilled posters. His dedicated works made during the last decade have brought him a global audience.


    Pioneering French graffiti artist Blek Le Rat counts the notorious Banksy one of his numerous admirers. Using stencils rather than stylized lettering for graffiti, Blek was among the very first true road artists. Originally famous for stencilling a giant picture image of a rat around Paris, which to him represented both liberty and also the dissemination of artwork throughout town as though it were the plague, lately Blek's job has become more political, focusing on the homeless, the environment, and other social causes. His posters of kidnapped French journalist Florence Aubenas helped elevated public awareness of her position, pressuring journalists and politicians to perform harder for her launch. 

    After Blek le Rat seen New York in 1972 that was the very first time he'd seen graffiti in his lifetime. When he came back to France with vibrant graffiti pictures in your mind, Blek registered at Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris to examine etching, serigraphy and lithography. Then he went on studying design, studying the effect of the imaginative possibilities of this urban atmosphere. He began stencilling the walls of Paris in 1981 -- when road painting hadn't yet become correlated with criminal action -- spray-painting little black rats running across the walls of their fourteenth Arrondissement.

    Through the 1980's, Blek's artwork developed from little pieces to life-size characters such as the representation of famous Andy Warhol, Tom Waits, Jesus Christ along with also a portrait of Blek le Rat himself. Using stencils, whether for depicting rats or non-natural personalities, enables him the chance for endless breeding. 

    British graffiti artist Banksy has confessed Blek's influence stating"every time I believe I have painted something slightly original, I find out that Blek Le Rat has done it too, just twenty years before." The two have expressed mutual desire for cooperation; in 2011, Blek was spotted adding to a mural begun the previous year by Banksy at the Mission District, San Francisco.


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Artist Profiles Blek Le Rat

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