Jim Clay Harper here with Danielle Bremner. Harper was arrested in Fitzroy on May 4, but Bremner remains unaccounted for. The pair and associates tagged trains at a host of locations including Bayswater train station, South Kengsington, Pakenham and a V/Line train discovered defaced at Traralgon. Photo: UTAHETHER.COM
The pair have previously been described as being the ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ of street art.
Harper also faces jail time in New York for outstanding graffiti offences Photo: UTAHETHER.COM
The pair’s tags were also found in Footscray, Collingwood, Abbotsford, the CBD, and on the walls of RMIT University and Etihad Stadium. Photo: UTAHETHER.COM
An internationally-renowned graffiti artist who travelled to Australia to vandalise Melbourne trains and buildings has been jailed for six months.
Jim Clay Harper, 31, also faces six months’ at the notorious Rikers Island in New York for outstanding graffiti offences in the US when he is deported after finishing his jail stint here.
Wearing prison greens, Harper appeared in the dock during his appearance at Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
Harper was arrested by police after a witness tried to stop him and and an unidentified man pasting stickers onto shops in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, on May 4.
A man who saw them doing it challenged the pair, the court was told, with Harper’s associate challenging him back: “you’re in f***ing Fitzroy mate; if you don’t like it go back to the ‘burbs.”
Prosecutor Tracey Ramsey told the court Harper and his partner Danielle Bremner had arrived in Melbourne on April 21 from the United Arab Emirates, and three days later started to create graffiti murals around Melbourne.
Harper, whose tag is ‘Ether’, and Ms Bremner, whose tag is ‘Utah’, are both members of the so-called MUL crew, which stands for “Made U Look”.
The pair is something of a celebrity couple in the graffiti world, and have previously been described as being the “Bonnie and Clyde” of street art.
In 2011 the US duo broke probation in America and left their homeland on a world-wide tour, spray-painting trains and walls in more than 30 countries in Africa, Europe and Asia since.
They have released books and films, held exhibitions, and regaled their cult-like following online with tales of their exploits, often using the hastag #ProbationVacation. Both have previously done jail time for graffiti offences.
Once they arrived in Melbourne, the court was told, they and associates, including the Australian graffiti artist Nokier, tagged trains at a host of locations including Bayswater train station, South Kengsington, Pakenham and a V/Line train discovered defaced at Traralgon.
The pair’s tags were also found in Footscray, Collingwood, Abbotsford, the CBD, and on the walls of RMIT University and Etihad Stadium.
After pasting the stickers onto the Brunswick Street shops, Harper and his associate left, the court heard, but the man who spotted them pursued them and tried to take their photograph before Harper put his hand up to grab at the camera.
When the victim resisted, Ms Ramsey said, Harper and the unidentified man punched him in the face.
Police later found a spray can, correction pens, a box cutter and a camera on Harper, which contained photographs of trains and buildings covered in the pair’s distinctive tags.
He initially denied that he had tried to steal the victim’s camera, arguing he had simply tried to stop him taking a photo of him, but later pleaded guilty to attempted robbery.
Harper’s defence lawyer Adrian Lewin unsuccessfully tried to argue that Harper had not come to Australia to cause criminal damage – it was simply that, like a yoga student, he participated in his hobbies wherever he was.
But Magistrate Carolene Gwynn was unconvinced, telling the court it was concerning that Harper had travelled to Australia and committed criminal damage despite the jail time he faced at home.
“So he’s not going to be deterred [by more jail time], is he,” she said.
“He has come to Australia for the sole purpose of committing these offences … they’re serious offences.”
She sentenced Harper to six months’ jail, less the 27 days he has already served in custody. He was ordered to pay Metro trains $1595.80 in compensation, and $280 to the victim, for breaking his glasses.
The court was told Bremner was on her way to Hong Kong.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.