Blek le Rat: Through the Walls

A pparently, when Blek le Rat was pasting up an image in a London street last year he was asked by an inquisitive passerby: “are you Banksy?” Such is the notable similarity between the two graffiti artist’s work

 

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


 

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