Vertical Gallery in Chicago celebrated their 4 Year anniversary this week hosting several events culminating with Blek Le Rat's show "RATICAL" .
On Wednesday, Patrick Hull, Owner of Vertical Gallery, held an Artist talk with Blek at Soho House, Chicago where the two discussed Blek's evolution as an artist, hitchhiking across the USA in the early 70's, the transition from streets to galleries, and finding a style vs having a good idea as an artist.
The following day Blek le Rat and Chicago Artist Hebru Brantley joined together for the event: Satire, Activism, and Art of the Street. This second Artists talk of the week was held in the Prints & Drawings Study Room of the Art Institute of Chicago. Blek's prints were on display alongside the likes of Andy Wahol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Indiana, and Édouard Manet.
On opening night I arrived at the show just after the opening time of 6PM and by 6:30 half of the canvases had already been sold. The event remained completely packed throughout the evening. There was great respect shown in Chicago's growing urban art community for a true graffiti legend. After several hours of mingling and talking up revelers Blek decided to bring some of his signature rat stencils out in front of the gallery late in the evening and began stenciling attendees books and clothing. A very classy move by a true gentleman of an artist. Overall, an extremely memorable night put together by Vertical Gallery and Blek Le Rat. Make sure to check it out if you are in town.