Chicago artist Winslow Dumaine's post showing a rat-shaped hole in the ground went viral.
Dumaine replied to the post with photos promoting products he sells and says he made over $3,000.
The sales increase from his post helped pay his $1,000 rent in one day, he said.
Winslow Dumaine posted the photo — which shows an imprint in the ground shaped like a rodent — on X on January 7. The silhouette of the rodent was missing a limb and was filled with water.
"Had to make a.pilgrimage to the Chicago Rat Hole," Dumaine wrote in the post, which has since garnered 5 million views and over 136,000 likes.
Had to make a pilgrimage to the Chicago Rat Hole pic.twitter.com/g4P44nvJ1f
— Gatorade Should Be Thicker. (@WinslowDumaine) January 6, 2024
According to his website, Dumaine is an artist, writer, and comedian whose work focuses on "pain, grief, trauma, and recovery." On the website, he sells tarot card decks and prints with his original illustrations.
The 32-year-old told Business Insider in an email that a friend had told him to "keep an eye out for the rat hole" while walking together in Roscoe Village. The quaint neighborhood is about 7 miles northwest of Downtown Chicago.
"When I saw the rat hole on the ground, it hit me like a body blow — I immediately laughed very hard," Dumaine said.
"You could show this to someone in China, France, or 1000 AD Rome, and they'd all know what happened. It was a piece of the universal thread that binds us all — animals, misfortune, and evidence," he added.
The hole can be found near 1918 W Roscoe Street 4047, according to the local outlet Block Club Chicago.
Product sales paid his rent thrice over
Dumaine said he posted a reply just a minute after he uploaded the photo of the rat hole, and showcased a few products on his website.
"I'm also an artist and I sell lots of weird stuff on my website, please check it out," Dumaine wrote in the post, which also featured photos of the stickers, tarot cards, and a pouch he sells. It ended up getting some 90,000 views, Dumaine said, which translated into sales as dozens of people followed through to his website to buy his products.
Some of the items on Dumaine's online shop include a tarot card deck featuring his original designs for $60, a woven blanket with a photo he took of four skulls at the Sedlec Ossuary, a Catholic church and cemetery in the Czech Republic, for $75, and a pink water bottle with the word "Cum!" printed on it for $20.
Since posting the photo last week, Dumaine told BI he has sold $3,000 worth of products on his website — more than three times his monthly rent of $1,000. On average, Dumaine makes around $5,000 a month, he said — but that also includes earnings from freelancing and wholesaling his products to 12 shops in the US and two in Vietnam. BI could not independently verify Dumaine's sales or monthly earnings.
Dumaine said that it was the genuineness of his post that helped garner so much attention, adding that he enjoyed seeing people "laugh at a very simple thing."
"Since this was on a fun and real post, and because my post wasn't some scam bot selling drop ship garbage from Temu, people actually engaged with it," he said.
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