While raising questions about the nature and place of street art, Banksy topped our list of the year’s most important artists. It seems we’re not the only ones with the still-anonymous Brit-art-prankster on our minds.

A British judge spared jail time for one man who pleaded guilty to causing thousands of dollars worth of damage by vandalism, based solely on the quality of his talents.

“I will probably get my wrists slapped for this,” magistrate Leslie Bottomley told the artist in court, “but you seem to have talent and could be the next Banksy.”

The sentence—or lack thereof—was handed down to Tom Dewhurst, a 22-year-old former forklift driver from Greater Manchester, England. He is said to have thrown up his tag DNB across the region dozens upon dozens of times, causing thousands worth of damage. Dewhurst was handed a £1,000 fine and ordered to carry out community service. 

If we had known that vandalism in the U.K. works more as a meritocracy, maybe we’d be across the pond trying to hone our craft.

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[via The Daily Mail]