Long before there was ‘street art’ as we now know it, there was Blek Le Rat. He began decorating the streets of Paris in 1981 with his hugely original and intelligent artwork. He was one of the first graffiti writers in Europe; one of the first to use stencils to make public art on the street; one of the first - if not the first - to break away from the dominance of New York graffiti style; and one of the first to use icons instead of writing his name. Since then he had a massive influence on today's graffiti and "guerrilla art" movements, his main motivation being social consciousness and the desire to bring art to the people.
Blek Le Rat has been an inspiration to artists all over the world, from Jay BadBC to Oseas Duarte to Shepard Fairey to Banksy—whose work is often homage to Blek’s iconography.