Pioneering French graffiti artist Blek Le Rat counts the infamous Banksy among his many admirers. Using stencils instead of stylized lettering for graffiti, Blek was one of the first true street artists. Originally known for stencilling a giant graphic image of a rat all over Paris, which to him symbolized both freedom and the dissemination of art through the city as if it were the plague, in recent years Blek’s work has become more political, focusing on the homeless, the environment, and other social causes. His posters of kidnapped French journalist Florence Aubenas helped raised public awareness of her situation, pressuring politicians and journalists to work harder for her release.
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