If You Haven’t Smiled Today, Meet The Rat Who Was Taught To Paint

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Darius the rat became a social media sensation for his art and although he passed away earlier this year, appreciation for his talent lives on.

Animation and digital arts student, Amalie Markota Andersen got Darius in 2017 and trained him to paint with his feet. It took about 10 minutes for Darius to complete one painting.

 “I had him in a weird time of my life where I was trying to figure out who I was as a person, and also where I should be going in life. He was my light in the darkness”

Amalie had pet rats from when she was around 14 years old and have had 9 rats so far, including Darius. For Darius, she got a non-toxic watercolor set, dipped his feet in the paint and let him run to and fro on the paper until the patterns he created looked appealing and interesting.

“I got him in 2017, he was one of many rats in the litter. All the rats seemed amazing, but Darius was just too precious not to choose. He looked so kind and gentle, I instantly fell in love with him the moment I saw him.”

Photos of Darius was recently shared on twitter, originally Amalie shared Darius’ painting progress on Tumbler in January 2018.

“Darius going viral was very exciting, I was so happy people liked him,” she said. “It is what he deserved!”

Having had pet rats for several years, Amalie found Darius to be quite different from her previous rats.  “He was very timid and shy. He didn’t like exploring much like rats usually do. He was just fine cuddling in my lap or sleeping in my bed. He wasn’t very independent, always clinging to me like a little baby. He was very attached to me and obviously I got very attached to him as well, which made it very hard for me to let him go when the time came.”

“He wasn’t nervous or aggressive, but he simply had no interest in other people. It was really weird seeing that in a rat. Rats usually love strangers, new places, just unexplored territory in general. But Darius didn’t care, he would just come back to me and demand some cuddles.”

As his fame grew, his ‘manager’ Amalie sold Darius’ work and spent the money on getting him a harness so the two of them could explore  outdoors safely.

“I do regret selling the original a little bit,” Amalie added. “But it also makes me very happy thinking that his works are out there somewhere, hopefully still intact and well!”

“It’s been crazy seeing all of it blow up like this. I never expected it would make people so happy. But I’m glad it did. Unfortunately, Darius didn’t make more than 4 paintings when he was still alive, but I am thinking about doing the same thing with my current rats, Gucci and Mango.’’

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