Love Rat is one of the famous prints from Banksy’s iconic Rat series, released as an unsigned screen print edition in colour of 600 in 2004.
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. The Love Rat first appeared as a mural in Liverpool as one of Banksy’s first images featuring his iconic rat character. In this print, we see the rat has painted a red heart with a paintbrush he is still holding, which is the only pop of colour on this image. This painting could be suggesting that even the worst of the worst love someone, since rats are often associated with being dirty and disliked. In a different interpretation one could see the drips coming from the red heart 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 cleverness, which could potentially mean the figure the rodents could even be a representation of Banksy himself, reflecting on his position vis-à-vis the art establishment.
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