Legendary French street artist Xavier Prou, best known under his famous pseudonym, Blek le Rat and widely recognized as the “Father of stencil graffiti” is having a New York City artist residency at the super chic and cool hotel The Quin on West 57th Street.
The Quin, (short for quintessential) once a residence for pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski, artists Marc Chagall and Georgia O’Keeffe, is located among some of the most worldly recognized prime art institutions in the city; the Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art.
Quin Arts, the hotel’s ongoing art program,will showcase installations created exclusively for the hotel by the current and past artist in residency. During their stay, the artist created pieces inspired by New York City, The Quin and the essence of urban living.
At the end of their stay, the artists give some of their work to the hotel to become part of The Quin’s permanent collection. Quin Arts also focuses on hosting a series of meet and greet events where art lovers and hotel guest from all around the world get the chance to mingle with the artist in residency. A great astute way to get art aficionados more in tune with the artist.Blek Let Rat: Escaping Paris showcases several large size paintings by Blek, as well as a series of 25 unique monotypes with lithography created by the artist during his tenure at the New York Academy of Art.
This exhibit focused on the art of music and dancing-bringing back a revamped version of The Last Tango in Paris dancers from his 1986 piece. Along with a variety of lithographs of violinists, guitar players and ballet dancers. (My Favorite)
“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.” Banksy
fun Fact: Blek Le Rat’s alias was inspired by a series of childhood comics titled “Blek le Roc”, Blek, replaced “Roc” with “Rat” as an anagram for Art. In fact, one of his first recognized form of street art came in the shape of those pesky not so coveted little rodents. He painted rat stencils throughout the streets of Paris during the 1980s. For Blek, the rat represents freedom, a symbol that “spreads the plague everywhere, just like street art” His main influences derived from the infamous graffiti art seen throughout New York City during the 1970s and artist Richard Hambleton, known as the god-father of Street art, or “Public Art” as Richard refers to it, residing in the lower east side of New York City.The video art wall made up of several monitors, challenged the artist with new ways of displaying his work.
Blek is credited as the first artist to convert basic lettering stencils to real illustrations and the originator of life-size stencils, a method often used by Banksy and many other street artists. Check out this beautifully crafted video where Blek gives us a small but thorough lesson on the art of lithography.
Below is a stencil of Andy Warhol, created by Blek on the outside of The Quin’s hotel. A lasting memory that definitely adds a cool kick of street cred to the façade of the hotel.
Blek Celebrated his 30 year anniversary with a release of a really cool limited edition coffee table book. The book is a retrospective of Blek’s work along with articles based on Blek’s work from notable figures in the art world.
“I will never stop. Ever. Unless there was something wrong with my legs. But 30 years is a long time. It’s a lifetime. This is my life.” Blek le Rat
Curated by DK Johnston, founding partner of The Arts Fund, Quin Arts offers an ongoing series of culturally significant events, exhibitions, salons, lectures, film premieres, book debuts, musical performances and artist receptions. _The Quin
Video By: Shiseido Ruiz