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More About Banksy’s ‘Gangsta Rat’
There isn’t a Banksy buyer out there who isn’t familiar with the iconic Banksy rat motif – in fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a street art fan who hasn’t seen the rat figure in famous works before. In this particular piece, the rat takes on a central role – embodying the gangsta referenced in the title with the tell-tale and instantly recognisable signs including the large chain necklace, hat, and boombox.
While the rat has been created and finished in an entirely monochromatic canvas, it is the red graffiti paint that catches the eye – spelling out the letters ‘iPOW’ which is a shorthand version of saying ‘I paint on walls’. With this tag and the simple fact that rats often represent the street artists and misfits in society, it seems clear that the rat is there to emanate Banksy himself.
The Story Behind Banksy’s ‘Gangsta Rat’
The rat itself is reminiscent of the New York underground style, which had spread to the UK by the 1980s and 1990s and had become an important but undervalued part of society. Banksy has often been quoted as discussing how his rat motif represents those who ‘exist without permission’ – sometimes using rats to represent the whole of society, and other times using them to recreate more specific groups.
The choice of tag, ‘iPow’ – with the little ‘i’ boasts its own link to Apple products – referencing the rise in the commercialisation of these products, by linking them ironically to the rat who is often considered a pest. Finally, to the spray paint itself, which links the rat back to Banksy by using his signature graffiti style, and shows Banksy giving voice to the rats / unheard groups of society.
The History of this Piece
This particular piece, which is an unsigned original print, is considered one of the main edition release pieces from 2004, due to the black and white rat and the vibrant red graffiti on the wall. With a limited release of just 150 signed prints and 350 unsigned prints, the demand for this main edition among Banksy buyers is high and as such this piece has been party to a number of auctions throughout the years all over the world.
Boasting several underlying messages and themes, ‘Gangsta Rat’ is an example of Banksy using his popular and favoured rat figure to raise questions around society’s view on underground groups, while also poking fun at the rise of Apple products by linking them to a common pest.
Sell your Banksy ‘Gangsta Rat’
If you’re looking to sell your Banksy ‘Gangsta Rat’, the main edition pieces with the red graffiti tag are generally worth the most and will collect the highest sale prices at auction among Banksy buyers and sellers. For a formal and fair valuation, get in touch with our team of professionals today.