REVOK, Los Angeles
Punishment: 180 days in prison.
He doesn't have the longest jail sentence or the biggest fine, but REVOK's headline-making arrest in 2011 was the biggest in terms of media exposure.
Through a combination of legitimate graffiti fame, a willingness to talk about his experiences, and growing social awareness around graffiti, he has inadvertently become the mainstream's unofficial poster boy of graffiti.
REVOK's legal troubles began with a deceptively innocent hit on the way to the Coachella Music Festival in 2009. Indio police arrested him in LA for prints they lifted from a cap found at the site. For financial reasons, he took a plea deal in exchange for probation. This, he says, is "how these fuckers got me by the balls."
The following October, REVOK was the subject of a high-profile arrest in Australia after police tracked illegal activity--and even his imminent departure--on Twitter. He was arrested at Melbourne Airport in front of waiting news crews and fined $15,000 AUD. The arrest was seized on for its brand-new social media novelty and introduced REVOK to mainstream news outlets on an international level.
Back in the States, REVOK was painting at a probation-approved event for his spraypaint sponsorwhen he was told police were asking for him outside. He fled, only to get picked up looking for his friend's car on the street. He was accused of violating his probation because of a nozzle in his pocket. A subsequent search of his house turned up a fake police badge, for which he was charged with impersonating a police officer (he says it was part of a Halloween costume worn by a girl he brought home), and he was also charged with possession of stolen property for a couple of milk crates.
Despite fully expecting to go to jail, REVOK was put on probation for three years.
After a relatively peaceful two-year period, REVOK had the biggest arrest of his career. He was on his way to Ireland in April last year when he was arrested at LAX and held on $320,000 bail. His crime? Failing to pay restitution, a probation violation. The story immediately hit LA news outlets and countless websites. The police press release (how many writers do you know who get press releases?) stated, "As a result of evidence discovered during his April 21 arrest, other incidents of vandalism were found in the County of Los Angeles."
For this REVOK was sentenced to 180 days in prison. During this time, "FREE REVOK" appeared on walls all over the world, perhaps proving once and for all that graffiti really is unstoppable.
He says if he even tries to paint legally now in LA, Carmen Trutanich's office will sue him for "upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars."