Originally I wanted to name my blog “The Rat Pack” after the gregarious group of old time singers and actors whom I admire so much. I love them for their classic charms, timeless and heartwarming music, and the way in which they remind me that class, creativity, and hard work will never go out of style, in the entertainment business or in plain old life. When “The Rat Pack” was already taken I decided to use “le” the French word for “the” because of its simple elegance when it rolls off the tongue. It doesn’t sound all that cohesive next to the harsh English consonants in Rat Pack, but I liked it nonetheless.
It was after I hit enter that I made a fascinating discovery: Le Rat is actually the name of a prominent French grafitti artist named Blek le Rat. His work fascinates me– especially the way in which he uses delicate stencil work to convey controversial social messages on an edgy and dangerous canvas. Read more about Blek:
“Long before there was “street art” as we now know it, there was Blek le Rat. He was one of the first graffiti writers in Europe; one of the first people 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.
How did you come up with the name Blek le Rat?
Blek le Roc [Blek the Rock] was a comic strip that I used to read when I was a kid. Blek le Roc was a fur trader or a trapper in the USA fighting against the British invasion army during the [sic] Boston Tea Party era. I used to love this comic strip, [which was] actually written and drawn by an Italian guy in the ’60s. When I started to make graffiti I took this name of Blek and I changed “the Rock” to “the Rat” because I used to paint rats in the street of Paris and also because in “rat” you can find “art.””
Much like Blek, I took a label, a name, from an old group of men (and women) whose work and life I admire. I took the name and made it my own. In “lerat” I found “later.” Later than Frank and Marilyn, inspired by the past and the present, writing for today. A little cliche…but aren’t we all sometimes?