World’s Unlikeliest Graffiti Writer Goes to Jail

June 18, 2013 | Andy Cush

You’re looking at VAMP, the London graffiti so prolific a judge recently called his work “industrial in scale.” He tagged trains, walls, and bridges all over the city, logging hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damages and earning the respect of the local graff scene and the ire of the police. He also had two children and held down a £60,000 (about $93,900) per-year job as a surveyor before he was turned in.

VAMP–legal name Kristian Holmes–was arrested at his workplace in 2010. This week, he was convicted on 39 counts of criminal damage and one count of “perverting the course of justice,” and sentenced to three and a half years in jail.

Prosecutor James Murray-Smith used the old “he’s not even a real artist” argument to characterize VAMP and his work. “Mr Holmes is a prolific graffiti vandal,” Smith said to the jury. “We are not talking here about witty imaginative images such as those I expect you are familiar with by Banksy… I would suggest what you are dealing with is simple damage.”