Banksy - Gangsta Rat

Gangsta Rat Banksy

Find out more about Banksy’s Gangsta Rat series, browse prints & editions for sale & view the works wanted by active buyers right now.

Banksy’s Gangsta Rat is part of a collection of signed and unsigned prints released in various colours. It was first editioned in 2004, in the red colourway with 150 Gangsta Rat signed prints and 350 unsigned prints. In 2015, the artist re-released some rare colourways. These were limited to 46 pink, 8 mint green, 20 green, 61 orange, 61 blue and 61 grey for special VIP collectors for Dismaland in Weston-super-Mare.

The artist 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.

Gangsta Rat combines spray-paint and black and white stencilling techniques. It depicts a black and white rat wearing a New York Mets baseball cap, a chain necklace, and carrying a ghetto blaster. The character portrayed is reminiscent of the New York underground style that was prevalent across the UK in the 1980s and 90s.

The rat appears to have tagged ‘iPow’ on the wall behind him in spray paint. The image is an ironic social commentary on the ubiquity of Apple products and POW is a reference to Banksy’s print publisher: Pictures on Walls.

Banksy’s appreciation for rats is often attributed to French stencil artist Blek le Rat, also known as Xavier Prou, who is regarded as the ‘father of stencil graffiti’ and initiated urban art in France in the 80s. Blek le Rat’s spray-painted stencils of rats first appeared in Paris on the banks of Seine, at the same time Banksy would have been drawing his own first sketches as a child.

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