Last week, self-styled street artist Andre Saraiva (also known as Mr. A and Monsieur Andre), posted images online of a circle and X he apparently spray-painted onto a rock at Joshua Tree National Park, according to Adventure Journal. Saraiva initially reported that the graffiti was painted on private property, but Modern Hiker blogger Casey Schreiner has since confirmed that it was actually painted at Joshua Tree’s Contact Mine trailhead.
Saraiva has denied this, writing, “Some crazy person is misinforming you,” according to Adventure Journal reporters with access to his private Instagram feed.
Saraiva is the latest in a string of photo sharers who have drawn the ire of commenters online for their use of mobile photo-sharing devices in national parks, as Outside described earlier this February. Saraiva’s case is unique, however, in that his apparent violation of park rules and customs was driven by an explicit desire to leave a trace on the desert—albeit on a surface, he insists, that was not part of the park. This sets him apart from almost every other visitor besides, perhaps, fellow Intagrammer Casey Nocket. As Outside wrote in October, Nocket posted photos of permanent acrylic portraits that she’d painted on rock faces in national parks across the country, defiantly noting that she was “a bad person.”
The problem of vandalism in national parks appears to be particularly pronounced in Joshua Tree. “We are a graffiti-heavy park, unfortunately,” Jay Theuer, Joshua Tree’s lead archaeologist, told the Desert Sun in October.