'Rat King' is a single colour linocut, printed onto 90gsm Nepalese Lokta paper. Rat kings are a strange and thankfully rare phenomenon where several rats tails become intertwined together, typically leading to their death. They are often found years later in a mumified state.
I'd had the idea for this print for some time so it was nice to finally get it created and out in the world. I like the juxtaposition of how at a distance it perhaps look like a beautiful mandala of sorts but on closer inspection the grisly truth is revealed!
Like many of my prints the first stage in creating this print was to draw out the design. While I had the overall image in mind I needed to search for reference images of rat kings and dead rats - an interesting google search I can assure you! At one stage my daughter (8) suggested I try the phrase 'really dead rat' for better results!
Once happy with the drawing its time to transfer it on to the lino. I use the 'carbon transfer method' whereby I trace over the image in pencil and then turn this over and rub the back (either with a pencil or 'bone folder') to transfer the graphite to the lino surface. I then trace this with a permanent fine liner to make the lines clearer.
It's then time to get carving. For most of my prints I primarily use Pfiel carving tools as I love the way these feel in my hand and it's possible to get some great detail.
And here is the finished print. Printed on 90gsm acid free Lokta paper with Cranfield Caligo safe wash oil-based ink. This paper is handmade and has a lovel texture.
This will eventually be a limited edition of 50 prints.
Paper size: (Aprox) 52 x 39cm.