June 17, 2009

Street artist charged for ‘barrel’ monster

Police in Raleigh, N.C., said a suspected street artist was arrested for allegedly using road construction barrels to create an art work.

The Raleigh Police Department said Joseph Carnevale, 22, a North Carolina State University student who has never confirmed or denied his identity as artist uliveandyouburn, was charged with larceny for removing the construction barrels from the side of the road, even though he returned them to the road construction site on Hillsborough Street as the barrel monster, the Raleigh (N.C.) Telegram reported Wednesday.

The artist has many supporters in the community who don't believe he should have been arrested for what uliveandyouburn described in a Web posting as that itch, that need to make real an idea that has rolled around in one's head for days, snowballed itself into a temporary obsession that just has to be satisfied.

I can't believe you were arrested for this, an admirer posted on the artist's site. The city should pay the damages AND pay you an additional $360 for your contribution to public art. I love to make art too and you are now my hero, dude.

Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said even he has doubts about the charges against Carnevale.

Rearranging them -- legally that doesn't sound like a larceny, he said. There might be something more to the story than I know, but it doesn't sound like anything of grievous harm.

The construction firm that owns the barrels has also publicly called for Carnevale to be cleared of the charge and complimented him on his alleged work.