A so-called Instagram artist, who had desecrated seven national parks — including Death Valley and Yosemite — by painting graffiti, has been banned from all U.S. National Parks, which is about 20 percent of the country. Casey Nocket, a 23-year-old who lives in San Diego, pleaded guilty to seven misdemeanor charges of injury and depredation to government property. Nocket was also sentenced to 200 hours of community work and will have to pay restitution as well, Cosmopolitan reports.
“This is art, not vandalism, I am an artist,” Nocket wrote on her now closed Instagram page.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheila K. Oberto banned Nocket from entering all the parks managed by the federal agency National Parks Service (NPS) during her two years of probation.
“The defendant’s defacement of multiple rock formations showed a lack of respect for the law and our shared national treasures,” said acting U.S. Atty. Phillip A. Talbert. “The National Park Service has worked hard to restore the rock formations to their natural state, completing clean-up efforts in five of the seven national parks. They expect to complete clean-up efforts at Death Valley and at Crater Lake national parks as weather permits.”
Over a period of 26 days in the fall of 2014, Nocket had “damaged rock formations in seven national parks” in the states of California, Oregon, Utah and Colorado. Casey Nocket, known as Creepytings on social media, posted pictures of her “art” on her Instagram and Tumblr pages. She had painted the ancient rock formations with acrylic paint, which is particularly difficult to remove. According to Jezebel, an investigator from Yosemite, Steve Yu, reached out to Reddit users for help identifying Nocket’s work.
The quality of her work, and the fact that she used acrylic paint to draw the images, angered many Reddit users who eventually tracked down the graffiti artist and reached out to park officials in an effort to bring Nocket to justice.
“National Park Service investigators have confirmed that images were painted on rocks and boulders in Yosemite National Park, Death Valley National Park, and Joshua Tree National Park, all in California; Rocky Mountain National Park and Colorado National Monument, both in Colorado; Crater Lake National Park, in Oregon; Zion National Park and Canyonlands National Park, both in Utah,” a statement regarding the matter read.
“Investigators continue to collect evidence of the crimes, conduct interviews, and are consulting with the U.S. Attorney’s Office about potential charges. We ask the public to exercise patience and allow due process to take its course as the investigation moves forward.”
Authorities and nature lovers alike were furious that someone would deface multiple rock formations because it shows a lack of respect for the land and shared natural treasures. Although Nocket calls her work art, most say it qualifies as vandalism.
Following the public outcry, Nocket closed her Instagram account and several self-proclaimed artists opened a Tumblr page in which they condemned her actions. Some users suggested that if she had been Banksy, all this would not have happened. A graffiti artist by the name of jambistreetartist wrote the below response to Nocket.
“Street artist here. I personally try to avoid putting my art on walls that people might otherwise enjoy without art on them. In other words, I put my art on ugly surfaces. I put art in places that won’t piss people off. Putting your art on natural monuments seems like contrived sensationalism – your art isn’t making you famous, where your putting it is. Let your art speak for itself. Above all, don’t be a d*ck. You’re giving us a bad name. Your art is more vandalism than art.”
[Image via Shutterstock]