Blek le Rat is one of the first street art artists and is known as the "Father of stencil graffiti".
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. French authorities identified Blek in 1991 when he was arrested by the police while stencilling a replica of Caravaggio's Madonna and Child. From that point on, he has worked exclusively with pre-stenciled posters, citing the speedier application of the medium to walls, as well as lessened punishment should he be caught in the act.
He has had a great influence on today's graffiti-art and "guerilla-art" movements, the main motivation of his work being social consciousness and the desire to bring art to the people. Many of his pieces are pictorials of solitary individuals in opposition to larger, oppressive groups. He has also been noted for his series of images representing the homeless, begun in 2006, which depict them standing, sitting, or lying on sidewalks, in attempts to bring attention to what he views as a global problem.
"Every time I think I've painted something slightly original, I find out that Blek Le Rat has done it as well, only twenty years earlier."- Banksy
British graffiti artist Banksy has acknowledged Blek's influence stating "every time I think I've painted something slightly original, I find out that Blek Le Rat has done it as well, only twenty years earlier." The two have expressed mutual desire for collaboration; in 2011, Blek was seen adding to a mural begun the previous year by Banksy in the Mission District, San Francisco.
Check out our collection Blek le Rat artworks here.