Gangsta Rat (AP grey) is a rare signed screen print released as a part of Banksy’s iconic Rat series in 2004 as an edition of 61.
Gangsta Rat (AP grey) is largely monochrome print in Banksy’s iconic spray-stencil style, portraying a rat sitting next to a boombox. The character is wearing accessories typical of “gangster” street wear, such as a New York Mets baseball cap, an ear piercing and a long chain with a medal. There is a grey tag behind the rat saying “IPOW” as the central splash of colour on the image. This is Banksy’s ironic nod to the ubiquity of Apple products and POW is a reference to the artist’s print publisher: Pictures on Walls. The rat character portrayed is reminiscent of the New York underground style that was prevalent across the UK in the 1980s and 90s, and also draws inspiration from the French graffiti artist Blek Le Rat, who originally started using rats as a symbol and is often called the Grandfather of stencil graffiti.
Banksy also reproduced Gangsta Rat as a mural in Farringdon in 2004, in Old Street in 2006 and New York City in 2013 on the occasion of the artist’s painting residency: Better Out Than In. Much like other artworks from the Rat series, such as Love Rat and Radar Rat, Gangsta Rat is a very popular print both in its unsigned and signed editions.
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