The “artist” Casey Nocket gained fame, not from the quality of her work, but for the lack of quality in her character.
If the goal of Casey Nocket was for her art to make her famous, she has undoubtedly attained at least some level of what she set out to do. The 23-year-old self declared “artist” who sparked outrage in 2014 by defacing the landscapes of National Parks across the American West pled guilty to seven misdemeanor counts in a California federal court, earning her two-years probation and 200 hours of community service.
Judge Sheila K. Oberto also tacked on a ban from all federal parks during the probation, and a requirement for Casey to make a formal written apology to the National Park Service.
Nocket’s canvases were our U.S National Parks, places that President Theodore Roosevelt compared to old-world European cathedrals, considering them testaments to the American nation and character. Nocket used her tools: acrylic paints and permanent markers to deface seven of our cathedrals, including Rocky Mountain National Park and Death Valley National Park. Then, in a act of narcissism all too common in our wired age, highlighted her art across social media.
Word of the young artists work spread fast, the website Modern Hiker broke the story and posted photos of the artist and her art before she pulled them from her Tumblr and Instagram pages. An investigation by the National Park Service quickly followed.
Nocket has continued to defend her work, saying:
“It’s art, not vandalism. I am an artist.”
Casey Nocket, the now quotable artist. As a artist, she joins a group that historically has shown a great capacity for self-reflection and criticism, something that Casey so obviously lacks.
The words of late 19th-century Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cezanne, whose work may have even inspired young Casey, speaks to this situation well:
“When I judge art, I take my painting and put it next to a God made object like a tree or flower. If it clashes, it is not art.”
Well said. But perhaps Cezanne’s quote can’t be seen as applicable in this situation, after all a century has passed since the artist’s death in 1906, and the landscape on which to create art is so much broader than what it was during his time.
Maybe the words of a thoroughly modern artist would be more appropriate. Barbara Kingsolver, American novelist, essayist and poet echoes Cezanne when she says;
If we can’t, as artists, improve on real life, we should put down our pencils and go bake bread.”
Casey Nocket, if art is in the eye of the beholder, than your art is a black eye to the perfect art that is the National Parks. My only suggestion to you during your probation and ban from the Parks is to start baking immediately.