Parachuting Rat is an artwork in Melbourne, Australia created by Banksy in 2003. In 2010 it was painted over by council contractors, leading to local and international coverage and debate on the nature of street art and its preservation, and new measures for its protection. Parachuting Rat is a purple rat with aviator glasses descending by parachute. Banksy’s oeuvre is largely directed towards anti-capitalist and anti-war themes.
Banksy’s work is described as distinctive in style, satirical, and provocative. Banksy himself has written, in connection with his works involving rats, ‘they exist without permission. They are hated, hunted and persecuted … if you are dirty, insignificant and unloved then rats are the ultimate role model’; that ‘you can win the rat race but you’re still a rat’; and also that he had been painting rats for three years before someone told him that the word is an anagram of art.
King Robbo is an English underground graffiti artist who became more widely known following a graffiti war with Banksy. Robbo painted his first train in 1985 and the ‘Merry Christmas’ train of 1988, a joint piece created with ‘Drax WD,’ received coverage in the British media.
His feud with Banksy burnished Robbo’s profile and he entered the commercial art world with a number of gallery shows and commissions in 2010. In 1985 King Robbo painted a large full color graffiti piece called ‘Robbo Incorporated’ on a wall beside Regent’s Canal in London which was only accessible by water. Over the years it became degraded with a few small pieces of graffiti over the top.