Xavier Prou a.k.a. Blek le Rat is the originator of the stencil graffiti movement beginning long before Banksy in Paris in the early 1980's. People often say that he is "the man that gave birth to Banksy or the godfather of the stencil art movement." The rat, a symbol of the persistent spread of street art and an anagram for the word art, is an apt marker for the influential artist. Inspired by the early graffiti of the 1970s in New York City, particularly the work of TAKI 183 and UK transplant Richard Hamilton, Prou's iconic work rapidly spread throughout Paris and Europe. Blek le Rat is celebrated globally and is credited for having paved the way for street artists such as Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Kaws and many more.
Today, he has repeatedly expressed his preference for the streets over galleries, maintaining that it is the ethical and social obligation of an artist to connect with as many people as possible. That was evident at his exhibit, continuously interacting with many fans at the Hotel. It was a perfect setting as art has long been a fundamental aesthetic and element of The Quin, sharing the experience of art with their guests and local visitors.
You can view the exhibit and also find a new Blek le Rats stencil just outside the hotel's entrance (an image of "Andy Warhol") on 57th Street near Sixth Avenue. Stop in and have a look around at the beautiful show and also visit Little Italy around Mulberry and Hester for more Blek brought to us by The L.I.S.A. Project. We hope he will be back visiting our city again very soon!
Blek le Rat
Blek with Lois Stavsky, creator and editor of Street Art NYC (http://streetartnyc.org)
My fellow art photographers; George Brock, Stavsky and Daniel Albanese editor of popular NYC blog "The Dusty Rebel" (http://www.thedustyrebel.com)
To learn more about The Quin Hotel and their artists in residence program visit http://www.thequinhotel.com and be sure to stop in the fall to catch the exhibit.