Blek le Rat – Ignorance is Bliss

Blek le Rat – Ignorance is Bliss

By George Raggett

When I was a kid I always painted and doodled as much as I could for the pure fun of it. Later on in life I started to see the real art side of things and I learnt how art was just another branch from the money tree. I never really became interested in art, for that reason alone, because it seemed so unnatural to paint something only for it to have a price tag put on it at the end. I mean, I wasn’t exactly an artist and I never had any contacts or even the skill to create a name for myself. So I was one of the many teenagers who painted for the fun of it and no other reason. That was until I saw a particular artist on the telly box one evening.

I remember my mother called me into the room and told me there was a chap with a can of spray paint doing something with a stencil. Obviously by this age I knew what graffiti was and I was taking part in that scene already but I hadn’t seen it done with stencils before. I was shocked by the speed and how quickly this guy had made in my opinion, a masterpiece, within the space of about a minute. After that I started to see it happen more often and that was about the time when Banksy was becoming known. I have admired stencil graffiti since then and I still do even though it has been overused many times since.

“…I knew that to be the witness of this thing, surely, would have a massive consequence in the way of how I will visualize my future career…”

Blek le Rart  Picture by
Blek le Rat, Picture by

The chap on the telly box was a french street artist who goes by the name of Blek Le Rat. I remember his french ways and how he explained that he first saw graffiti when it started out in New York city at the beginning of the 70’s, I never thought I’d be having a conversation with that same man and he’d be telling me the exact same thing. I recently got in contact with Blek Le Rat, not an easy thing to do but I did, and had a good chat with him and also had the chance to ask him a few questions for my first article back at CFYE. So here it is….

Blek le Rat
Blek le Rat

What was it that started it all for you? How did you start out as a painter?

Everything started , I would say during my journey in NYC in 1971 when I discovered the graffiti on the walls and in the subway of the city.I was 2o years old at that time and was studying fine art at the school of “Beaux arts of Paris”. I thought that this free expression of people on the walls was totally new and very interesting and I knew that to be the witness of this thing, surely, would have a massive consequence in the way of how I will visualize my future career as an artist painter .

What is your next step in the art world?

I am working on a show for a museum in Germany.

How would you describe your current lifestyle?

I have a normal life with my family in a house in the country side . It’s a normal life but with a different timetable than the other people .

Last question, please answer in a paragraph all you can about your upcoming show.

My next solo show is on 7th of Sept 2013 at “Levine’s Gallery” in NYC and it’s called “Ignorance is bliss” . It means that most of the time in the life when you make or do something with a pure sincerity as a child you are not wrong. Picasso used to say“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.

About Blek le Rat

Blek Le Rat was born in Paris, France in 1951. 10 years after spray paint was starting out as a tool for vandalism he created a silhouette of a rat running along the streets, which quickly became reco...View profile