Renowned street artist Anthony Lister has appeared in Brisbane Magistrate’s Court charged with graffiti offenses, reportedly on the same day he was to be filmed around the city by a CNN America camera crew.

The Courier Mail report that Lister faces 12 charges of willful damage, dating back to 2009. He maintains, however, that he was “completely unaware” of said charges until his arrest on Saturday morning.

“I thought what I do is art. Apparently it’s a crime,” said the puckish street artist, who spent a reported 10 hours in Brisbane Watchhouse after being picked up by police at Kangaroo Point.

#lister #hitthebricks

A photo posted by Anthony LISTER (@anthonylister) on

Lister’s works sell in the tens of thousands of dollars, and his celebrity fans include the likes of Pharell and Hugh Jackman, but he has a long history of run-ins with the law in his home town of Brisbane.

In May of this year, he painted a mural – a face, with signature dark red lips – in an Elizabeth Street alleyway, but soon after he posted a photo to his Instagram, a Brisbane City Council crew were sent to remove it.

A photo posted by Anthony LISTER (@anthonylister) on

Ironically, it was the council who fostered a love of graffiti in the young Lister in the first place, when they commissioned him to paint a series of signal boxes around town, as part of a street art initiative launched in 2000.

He added his signature touch to numerous boxes around the city, and graduated to larger works, but he now says that all of these have been painted over, including a large, council-commissioned mural in the inner-city suburb of Milton.

Lister, who has a solo exhibition in London opening soon, has been freed on bail, and must reappear in court on November 19. His lawyer has called the arrest a “travesty.”

‘Natural’ – mixed media on canvas – 180cm x 180cm – 2014. Extremely busy in the studio preparing new work for a London solo exhibition at the prestigious LAZARIDES GALLERY this November. @lazarides #lazaridesgallery #lister #anthonylister

A photo posted by Anthony LISTER (@anthonylister) on

Image via Instagram