After a visit to New York City in 1971, Blek le Rat became influenced by early graffiti works. Back in Paris, Blek decided to bring his brand of street works to his hometown. Much like his name, he spread his work like rats spread the plague. Part Graffiti, part Richard Hamilton styled works, Blek is credited with being the inventor of the life-sized stencils.

Blek’s influence can be seen heavily in the work of street artists today, most notably Banksy. If Blek le Rat is the Madonna of street art, Banksy is Lady Gaga. The redo of the greatest achievement in the genre for a generation that thinks it does everything first and better. Blek taught me.