Thursday, October 29, 2009

Work by Jason Steven Williams ("Revok")

$15,340 damage: A train tagged by Jason Steven Williams ("Revok"). Source: Herald Sun

Suspended jail term for US graffiti artist Jason Steven Williams, aka Revok

AN American who graffitied Melbourne buildings and posted pictures of his work on his webpage has been handed a suspended jail sentence but ordered to pay more than $15,000 in damages.

American artist Jason Steven Williams - known by his tag "Revok'' - caused $15,340 damage to Melbourne buildings, bridges and trains in just two weeks.

The 32-year-old was arrested as he tried to fly home to Los Angeles last night - after boasting of his exploits on Twitter and posting photos of his handiwork online.

"I'm going to paint as much as I can then get the f.. out of here,'' he Tweeted.

But graffiti devotees weren't the only ones following his antics - and Victorian police pounced after reading his post,''on my way to the airport... can't get on that plane fast enough!!!"

"I guess I shouldn't have talked about that on my way to the airport, huh?'' he joked as he walked from court today.

And he says in a YouTube video about his work that he had "gone to jail I don't know how many times''.A celebrity in the world of illegal street art, Williams made headlines in his home town last year when he was arrested for vandalism.

But Melbourne Magistrates' Court heard he had no convictions - a matter the magistrate took into account in handing him a suspended jail term.

He was in town for a legal graffiti competition but when the event was cancelled he instead defaced train carriages, bridges, walls and the side of St Vincent's Hospital.

Williams said he was sorry for the trail of destruction.

"I feel very remorseful,'' he said. "I came here, I did some stuff, maybe I did a few things I shouldn't have done.

"I apologise to the court and to Melbourne."

His lawyer Anna Balmer said Williams was a passionate artist whose future exhibitions had been jeopardised by his crimes.

She said he had "painted himself into a very uncomfortable corner" and had acted immaturely.

Ms Balmer said Williams would pay for the damage. He pleaded guilty to nine counts of criminal damage.

Magistrate Ian von Einem said he took into account Williams's plea of guilty and his lack of convictions.

Mr von Einem said graffiti put off tourists and Williams's actions set back his own efforts to legitimise graffiti as art.

He said a jail term would act as a deterrent to others and imposed a nine-month sentence suspended for two years.

He also ordered that he forfeit his iPhone, laptop and camera.

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