The first five week course offering for The Free University Art School was completed last Sunday, April 3, 2011, with Jon-Paul Bail’s presentation of a personal history of Oakland Street Art. Fitting perfectly into the Free University Art School’s step-by-step art of the street approach, the sweep and course arch of the four presentations:

1. Chris Shaw and I present Rock Art, and demonstrate printing techniques.

2. Blek le Rat – speaks to three decades of street art, defines the state of the art both high brow and low brow, and produces a stencil painting live.

3. Winston Smith – discusses his life and art, with me and Vale of RE/Search Magazine as moderator. Winston explored the long San Francisco tradition of DYI and punk art.

4. Jon-Paul Bail’s story of Oakland and San Francisco street art from 1980’s to present. I moderated and Ron Donovan printed JP’s street piece.

Jon-Paul culminates his class – and the Free U Art School first five weeks – by leading our class down Valencia Street in the Mission of San Francisco to make art on the street. We pasted Winston Smith’s Nuclear Scream, a reaction to the Japanese nuclear disaster.

Thanks everyone who came to learn, who came to teach, and for keeping the dream alive.


The Free University was very proud to host graffiti art innovator and originator, Blek le Rat, on Sunday, March 20, 2011. I will post more photos and videos here as they come in. So stay tuned to this post…

What follows is my introduction:

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. He has been an inspiration to artists all over the world, from JayBadbc to Oseas Duarte to Shepard Fairey to Banksy—whose work is often an homage to le Rat’s iconography.

– Jon Reiss, director of the documentary, “Bomb It”

The problem with galleries is that… 99% of urban artists use urban art as a stepping stone into the galleries. It’s a fatal error because in galleries they’re seen by 40 people, in museums they’re seen by 10 people, but in the streets they’re seen by 100,000 people. And that’s the integrity of an artist’s work: to be seen. Not be sold or to be recognized in a museum—but to be seen by the world.

– Blek le Rat, Swindle Magaize


Blek le Rat at The Free University Art School

On March 18, 2011, in Events, by squirt

The Free University of San Francisco aims to make the highest level of education available, completely free, to any individual who wants it, regardless of color, creed, age, gender, nationality, religion or immigration status—a university free of money, taught for free. The only requirement for membership is a desire to teach and/or a desire to learn.

Blek le Rat, Free University Art School Event

Sunday, March 20, 2011 – 2PM to 4PM


998 Valencia Street (at 21st Street)

San Francisco, CA


Course Description:

The Free University Art School is very fortunate, and proud to present the very prolific street artist Blek le Rat on his journey around the world. He stops here with us for an extensive two hour presentation, sharing his masterful stencil art with the people of The Free University of San Francisco.  Blek will tell his story, share his insurgent spirit, show his work and may even create some stencil art live in person.

Come early / limited room!


Blek le Rat was born in Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris in 1951. He is considered by most in the graffiti world to be the godfather of stencil graffiti art. He studied painting and architecture. He began his artwork in Paris in 1981. Since then he has had a great influence on today’s graffiti and “guerrilla art” movements, his main motivation being social consciousness and the desire to bring art to the people.