Wk3 – Artist – Blek le Rat

by eunjoos

So for this week’s Artist of the Week we watched “Bomb it Graffiti.” It was an amazing documentary that featured such different and talented artists. The one that caught my attention was Blek le Rat, so I wanted to focus on him for this blog post.

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Blek le Rat was one of the first graffiti artists in Paris and called the “Father of stencil graffiti.” His work has influenced many people around the world. His work had a great influence on a really famous street artist by the name of Banksy. In the documentary he says that he was inspired by New York style street art and wanted to bring it over to Paris, but he said that American style street art does not match the architecture that is in Paris. Instead, he made his own style and showcased them onto the walls of Paris.

He began his artwork by painting stencils of rats onto the walls of Paris. He chose rats because “they create fear, they are synonymous with invasion and are the only wild animals that reside in the city.” He also says that rats “are the only animal that is free in this city.” I actually saw stencils of rats in Paris!

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In “Bomb it Graffiti” he says that his “work focuses on the misery and poverty in France, specifically in Paris.” “Art must serve a cause… not a militant cause, or political… but a social cause.” His work contains very strong messages against the society in Paris. He is aware of the irony of these projects; people will walk past homeless people but will stop and discuss the painting of a homeless person on the wall. In the documentary the other French graffiti artists says that their graffiti is their voice to be heard and to speak out against Parisian society.

His art work is very ironic and kind of pokes fun of our hypocritical society. Like he said, he uses art to serve a social cause. His street art is simple yet beautiful and it is something I really enjoy looking at. He works outside of Paris as well and he enjoys it saying “I love to work in places I don’t know because these locations allow me to get in touch with a new atmosphere, new lights, and new people.” His artwork grew so much in popularity that it has been showcased in galleries in many different countries. However, this does not mean he only showcases his work in galleries, he still tags the walls of cities he visits.

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Blek le Rat is truly an inspiration. He is strong and fearless and uses his beautiful art as a voice. He is an influential figure in urban art that has inspired so many different artists around the world. He will always be remembered as the “Godfather of Stencils,” and will continue to be looked at as a huge inspiration for modern street art.

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