Construction Barrel Monster

That’s pretty cool.

ArtBistro picked up on the AP story from the weekend, about artist Joseph Carnevale:

When Joseph Carnevale chopped up three stolen orange and white traffic barrels from a construction site to create a massive sculpture of a roadside monster thumbing a ride, the North Carolina college student said he saw it as a form of street art.

Police just saw vandalism.

They dismantled the 10-foot “barrel monster” and arrested Carnevale. Hundreds of online supporters want the charges dropped and the publicity has turned the history major and part-time construction worker into a local celebrity.

Even the construction company has become a fan, and wants the 21-year-old to create a replica of the figure that led to his arrest on June 10.

“It’s surprising how many people have called attention to it,” Carnevale said.

The college junior hadn’t spent much time planning when he set out the night of May 31 and snatched the barrels from the site near the North Carolina State University campus where he studies.

“I had the idea in class that morning, and it kind of grew in my head, until it was something I had to do,” he said. He went back to his apartment and in an hour and a half returned to the site to assemble the freshly painted pieces before driving away.

What emerged was a hulking figure that seemed to extend a thumb, seeking a ride from passing cars. The next morning police dismantled the creation and took the pieces in for evidence while they searched for the perpetrator.

Although photos quickly spread on the Internet featuring the “barrel monster,” it was an N.C. State newspaper article that offered enough clues to lead police to a Web site that identified Carnevale. Police charged him with larceny and destruction of property, both misdemeanors, and he’s scheduled to appear in court next month.

Carnevale, an Indianapolis native, prides himself on his street art, but said he’s most interested in guerrilla photography — making art and snapping images from restricted locations.

That the construction company whose barrels were used is happy with the publicity is no surprise. For days, the company was identified as “Hamlin Associates.” Wrong! The name is actually Hamlett Associates, and they could use good marketing attention. Maybe Mr. Carnevale can introduce them to somebody who could overhaul their Web site. The Christian Science Monitor got it right — and the construction company probably should produce replicas for all their construction sites. Sell it, baby!

Local TV station WNCT has the video. And here’s the AP report…

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