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Mixed Media, 2004
Mixed Media Edition of 25
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Joe Syer, Head of Urban & Contemporary Art
Rat With Umbrella is a mixed media artwork made by the critically acclaimed street artist Banksy in 2004. Coming in an edition size of 25, the artwork shows a rat wearing a suit, bowler hat and tie. The rat is rendered using a stencil and black and white spray paint. Banksy draws the rat holding an umbrella and briefcase and the animal appears to be looking up at the sky or waiting for something. In this artwork the rat takes on the qualities of a person, perhaps a worker and the animal resembles a businessman going to work. The use of the stencil method in this artwork captures the essence of Banksy’s artistic style. Banksy favours stencils over freehand drawings as the stencil method enables him to produce artworks quickly so as to avoid being spotted by members of the public or caught by the police.
Rats frequently appear in Banksy’s artworks and have become one of the artist’s signature motifs. Rats are often used by Banksy to represent the masses or the working class. Rat imagery is used by Banksy as a metaphor for the potential uprising of the masses which reflects Banksy’s anti-establishment values.
Discussing his use of rats, Banksy explains “Like most people I have a fantasy that all the little powerless losers will gang up together. That all vermin will get some good equipment and then the underground will go overground and tear this city apart”.
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