A SELF-PROCLAIMED ‘artist’ who fled authorities in America has been arrested for vandalising Melbourne trains and robbing a man in Fitzroy. American Jim Clay Harper, 31, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with assaulting and robbing a man in Fitzroy, as well as defacing trains in Bayswater, Williamstown, Kensington and Pakenham.

Mr Harper, who uses the name Ether for his ‘mixed media’ work, runs a website with his partner Utah on which he claims to challenge conventional beliefs about vandalism.

“With their work the artists dare to challenge the viewer to confront traditional beliefs concerning personal and public property, and the social context of vandalism,” the website says.

“They have garnered global recognition for their vandalism and art. Their works can be viewed on walls and trains spanning across 5 continents, in cities such as Buenos Aires, Paris, Milan, New York, Beijing and Tokyo.”

Mr Harper is charged with attempted theft of a mobile phone, assault by punching, recklessly causing injury, possessing a controlled weapon and four counts of property damage.