Blek le Rat & Above
May 1 – June 5, 2010
White Walls Gallery
839 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA
Open Tues – Sat 12PM – 7PM
“Every time I think I’ve painted something slightly original, I find out that Blek Le Rat has done it as well, only twenty years earlier.”
“My stencils are a present, introducing people to the world of art, loaded with a political message. This movement is the democratisation of art: if the people cannot come to the gallery, we bring the gallery to the people!”
Blek le Rat
Back before there was Banksy, there was Blek le Rat. One of the earliest urban street artists, Blek le Rat is considered the godfather of stencil graffiti. The first artist to produce life sized stencils, Blek has been decorating the streets of Paris and the rest of the world for over two decades.
Fortunately for us here in San Francisco, Blek is currently showing his work at the White Walls Gallery on Larkin Street. I stopped by White Walls to check out his work and was impressed with a gallery full of interesting and politically provocative images.
Sharing a show with Blek is Above, a younger version of Blek, doing his own stencils in his own unique new way. Above started traditional graffiti of tagging freight trains in California in 1995 and then moved to Paris at the age of 19 where he started painting his trademark arrow (pointing above) all around the city. Since then Above has been consistently traveling around the world doing many large self-financed “tours” with each tour exploring a new medium or style of artworks.