But Blek, a Frenchman, has been daubing rats, ironic self-portraits and stencilled socio-political commentary on city streets since 1981. Author Sybille Prou (who is also Mrs Blek le Rat) and filmmaker King Adz have done a fine job in bringing Blek’s story across, collecting together a range of images of the iconic street art he’s been making for nearly 30 years. Interestingly, Banksy’s very first “uno∞cial biography” is also published next month. Here, the reference to Blek’s potential influence is brief, but nonetheless revealing: “Every time I think I’ve painted something original, I find out that Blek le Rat has done it as well, only twenty years earlier.” Check out Blek’s book for some of those original ideas.
Blek le Rat, Thames & Hudson; £11.95 (published May 12), Banksy’s Bristol: Home Sweet Home by Steve Wright, Tangent Books; £12. A Blek le Rat exhibition opens at the Thru Cargo Garden, Arch 461, 83 Rivington Street, London on May 9