Blek le Rat, born Xavier Prou in 1951, is a renowned French graffiti artist often considered one of the pioneers of stencil-based street art. His work has had a significant influence on the global street art movement, with artists like Banksy crediting him as a major inspiration. Blek le Rat began his artistic career in the early 1980s in Paris, France, where he was initially inspired by the graffiti he saw on a trip to New York City. He chose the name "Blek le Rat" as a nod to the rats he often used as subjects in his early work and as a reference to an Italian comic book character named "Blek le Roc." His innovative use of stencils allowed him to quickly and efficiently create detailed and striking images on walls, buildings, and other public spaces. This technique enabled street artists to leave their mark with more precision and less risk of being caught by authorities. Throughout his career, Blek le Rat has created a diverse range of works, including political commentary, social critiques, and tributes to famous figures. His artwork has been displayed in galleries and museums worldwide, and he continues to be a prominent and influential figure in the world of street art. Despite his immense influence, Blek le Rat has remained somewhat elusive, rarely granting interviews or making public appearances. This air of mystery has only added to the intrigue surrounding his work and his place in the history of street art.