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Blek Le Rat, an Iconic Graffiti Artist

Born as Xavier Prou, in the beautiful land of Paris, Blek Le Rat was a famous artist, known for pioneering the graffiti art movement in this place. After studying etching, lithography and painting for six years, he went on to study architecture. He began graffiti art in the early 1980s by painting pictures of rats on the street walls of his city. The rat was one of his favourite elements, and he often described it as being the only free animal and the one that spreads plague everywhere. During the early years, he was largely influenced by graffiti artists of New York City. After visiting it, he brought the style to Paris, adapting it to suit the culture of the region.

His Style of Work

He is also known to be an elusive painter. While many have seen his works, the man has shown himself to very few. Though spraying since a decade, he is a phantom, seldom seen in person, but always visible through the stenciling he does. His style of work is innovative, refreshing, eye-catching, creating a larger than life image on the large canvases (of walls) that he uses.

His Contributions

He has many credits to his name. He is known to have introduced the usage of stencils to graffiti art. He is also known for creating the first life size stencil and for transforming the use of stencils from lettering to pictorial art. He is known to have brought social consciousness to art, with many of his images depicting solitary individuals and also representing the state of the homeless across different parts of the world.

Blek Le Rat vs. Banksy

The work of Blek Le Rat also shares much similarity with that of Banksy, a popular British graffiti artist. In fact, the British artist also stated that every time he thinks he has painted something original, he finds that Blek Le Rat has done it as well, and approximately 20 years earlier. While their styles tend to overlap, each has an individuality of his own, visible to the keen observer who has seen the works of both.


His style is timeless. He has left us with many great works in stenciled art. Exhibitions of his work have been held across many art galleries, including Leonard Street Gallery in London and Cans Festival in 2008. In the same year, he also participated in the Subliminal Projects Gallery in Los Angeles in 2008. In 2009, he participated in Melbourne, Australia, at the Metro Gallery.

Blek Le Rat inspired graffiti is today a popular part of interior decoration. While accessing his original works will be both expensive and time consuming, today high quality reproductions are also easily available. With other artists inspiring themselves from this style, you will also be able to have a personalized portrait done up in the popular stencil graffiti style. All you need to do, is search online and compare providers to select the best graffiti artists. You can also get these artworks printed on to different mediums, as you like.

Ronan Le Breton, is passionate about pop art over all things. He has travelled across the world, experimented with various art styles and has been instrumental in bringing them together at Personal-Art, a pop art studio in Bali. Today he works with his team to create high-quality personalized pop art in various disciplines.