Love Rat is one of the famous prints from Banksy’s iconic Rat series, released as a signed screen print edition in colour of 150 in 2004.
The Love Rat image first appeared as a mural in Liverpool as one of Banksy’s first works featuring his iconic rat character. Much like fellow Graffiti Artist, Blek Le Rat, the rat is among Banksy’s favourite symbols and some 20% of his prints feature a rat, such as Gangsta Rat and Radar Rat. In this screen print, we see the rat has daubed a red heart with a paintbrush he is still holding. As rats are often associated with being dirty and disliked, this painting could be suggesting that even the worst of the worst love someone. In a different interpretation one could see the dripping red heart painted by the rat as bleeding, in which case the Love Rat is in fact the cause of some pain of the heart. As Banksy jokingly advertised this print on his site: “Ideal for a cheating spouse.” Rats are also symbols of intelligence and shrewdness, which means the rodents could even be a manifestation of Banksy himself, reflecting on his position vis-à-vis the art establishment.
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