Saturday, June 20, 2009

Coming to an art gallery near you.

When I was a teenager growing up in Mandeville, Jamaica, I took a street sign from one of the town's streets (Sorry Mayor Charlton) and put it in my room. I don't know why I did it, it just seemed like something to do.....wait, I just thought about something: Maybe it wasn't me, yeah, that's the ticket, I didn't steal that sign, I got me confused with someone else. :)

I mentioned that street sign incident, because I want to talk about Joseph Carnevale, the North Carolina State student who allegedly commandeered a bunch of traffic barrels for the purpose of creating art.

Now I won't front, I like Carnevale's art, and I think his idea was somewhat ingenious. And apparently I am not alone. Carnevale is a hero to some and has gotten very popular thanks to the Internet. So much so that the very construction company who owns the barrels he allegedly destroyed now wants him to recreate his art at their headquarters.

Go figure. But the police won't drop the charges, they are still charging him with vandalism, and I suspect that they will take it to the max.
Anyway, here is my question: Should he be prosecuted given the totality of the circumstances surrounding his case? Should people get to slide when they break the law because they happened to do something clever and ingenious while breaking it? Personally, I think not. Joseph Carnevale, if found guilty, should face the consequences of his actions. Some of the stuff I see with urban graffiti is clever and creative, but I want them prosecuted as well, because they tag other people's property. So sorry Joseph, you don't get a pass.
"I had the idea in class that morning, and it kind of grew in my head, until it was something I had to do," You know what Joseph? I have this idea about Lark Voorhies all the time, but it stays in my head if you get my drift. We can't always act on our ideas and thoughts.

Oh field, you are such a hypocrite. You did something similar when you were a youngster and got away with it, and now you want this guy to pay for his crime? Wait, I thought I said that wasn't me?
If Joseph is prosecuted I wouldn't feel too sorry for him. I am sure that he will be coming to an art gallery near you very soon.


Grata said...

Oh please, I have heard of judges letting off White female perpetrators of more serious crimes because they were too pretty to go to Jail. I think this is one guy who should benefit from the miscarriage of Justice.

Saleema said...


The lawyer in you wants to get this guy.

He'd be free, If I was the judge.

StillaPanther2 said...

Brother Field...young whites are CUTE...young Blacks are criminal. A slap on the wrist with much adoration from the Raleigh,NC court. He may get pro-bono from a law firm. This part of NC is very lenient towards young whites due to the academia enviroment. As a side track from a previous posting about how to address a person/Senator Boxer. I have a problem with young white feamales calling me "honey" "sweety" and other pet names besides "Sir". This occurs at stores where they are clerks. My main concern is how should I respond when young white male clerks say " What you need, Bubba?" or " What you need, Boss"? This happens to me a lot. I will not tell you want I want to do, but how do you handle this. I know my age has a factor in my perception of these people that should show some RESPECT. By the way stopped in Philly to get a cheesestake last Saturday at Pats...line was a block long. I also notced that several young Black males addressed me as "Pops" is that the new lingo like the old one "Dog" is no longer chic ?

Bob said...

In a sane world, this problem would be turned over to the village elders, who would probably rule that Carnevale pay for what he took & then "sentence" him to teach grammar school kids how to make sock puppets & paper bag masks. His "crime" is less serious than graffitti defacement, & even graffitti artists have been turned to positive art projects.

Black Diaspora said...

@Field: "Should people get to slide when they break the law because they happened to do something clever and ingenious while breaking it?"

What if everybody did it?

Joseph got what he wanted: Attention!

Attention costs--sometimes you pay by going to jail, at other times with a fine, and, when no law is broken, public acclaim, or pillory.

I've got to believe that Ol' Joseph could have gotten his attention without breaking the law.

Anonymous said...

I see people get off with probation for committing more serious crimes than "artful" vandalism. Why not let him go with a slap on the wrist?

brohammas said...

Prosecute him. It isnt even all that original, Banksy already did that years ago, prosecute him for being unoriginal... and knowing that lots of other kids are unoriginal as well.
Like you Field, you, er..."someone" probably stole that street sign because you saw someone else do it, or saw it on TV and thought it was cool.
If you ALSO saw that other person get a big fine and have to pick up trash on the highway for the next 6 months, your corner would still have a stop sign.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on this one, Field.
Sarah Deere

Jody said...

First... this is a misdemeanor, so no one is going to jail and Still Panther, that would hold true regardless of race. It is simple math as to charge.... "value of property destroyed" under 5 grand is a misdemeanor... remember that all you vandals....
Second, if this is his first offense, he will probably get a deferred program.... also holds true for most first offenders of misdemeanors
Finally, this guy got more press for his art than he other wise would have.. so keepin his nose clean and paying a fine is well worth it, in my opinion. And, Field, I really like his art, too.

field negro said...

Yes brohamma..."someone".
That was too funny with the "Banksy" reference.

Bob,I like your sentence. Should I call you your Honor?

Jody, I agree with you about the type of offense and sentencing, too. But I am not sure if it the cost of the stuff he destroyed was under five grand.

Hey Panther, the next time you are in my city shoot me an e-mail. I will be glad to get you a real "steak". Not something from one of those tourist traps.

And yes, the young bucks here (black and white) love to refer to old heads as "pops".

BTW, thanks for not going to Geno's. That racist xenophobe does not deserve your business. That's true for everyone: If you must visit one of our tourist cheesestaek traps, please go to Pat's and NOT Geno's.

To answer your question about how you like to be addressed; that's a tough one. I think I did an entire post on it once. I know a lot of it depends on culture and region. Personally,I take it on a case by case basis.
Joseph got what he wanted: Attention!

"Attention costs--sometimes you pay by going to jail, at other times with a fine, and, when no law is broken, public acclaim, or pillory."

Well said!

Anonymous said...

Chirst, Field! You're from Mandeville? My dad's from Mandeville. Small world.

field negro said...

"Chirst, Field! You're from Mandeville? My dad's from Mandeville. Small world."

It sure is. Yes, I am from Mandeville, the best city in the island. The weather there is probably the best on this planet. Of course, only us Yawdies would know that.:)

Happy Father's Day.

John B. said...

I've heard of people getting killed because someone played a "joke" and removed a Stop sign from an intersection. Apparently, no one was hurt because of this guy's stunt, but they might have been.

I doubt that he will do time, but he should pay in some way.

Justice58 said...

To All Dads...

Have a Happy Fathers's Day!

Eddie said...

Who owns the cones? If they are owned by the same construction company that wants the kid to make art for them, then I think the charges should be dropped since they hopefully aren't pushing to put him jail. Now if it was city or state property and wasn't a felony, the guy should pay a fine or put his talent to use in someway and that should be the end of it. I just hope both sides don't make it into anything to serious.

Monie said...

A crime is when a person or the community as a whole is harmed in some way. So if the community is enhanced by the action then is it still a crime?

As I look at the photo I see a piece of art that might actually save a life. The art is alerting people to road construction.

So the question becomes; is the criminal justice system simply a set of laws that must be followed blindly without consideration of circumstances or do we allow judges and others the freedom to see cases on their individual merits?

And I don't think the 'what if everybody did it' question applies since there are probably very few people who could do that, which is part of the point.

Thanks for getting my brain working this morning FN. :-)

Jody said...

Off Topic, but.....
Please check this link for demonstrations in solidarity with the people of Iran for a demo in your area.....
Locally in Philly, there will be a candlelight vigil at the Constitution Center at 8:00pm tonite...... The people of Iran need to know that we got their backs in their amazing,courageous, and it aint over til its over struggle for justice. They are my sheros and heros today!

Jody said...

Ok... totally bored, so went and looked up the cost of the barriers/drums... they retail for about $60 each.... looking at the art, I think it is safe to say he was not even close to the $5 grand minimum for felony charges.... looking at the art, looks like he used 6 or seven drums max........
I should so be his lawyer;-)....

Shabazz said...

New blog post; check it out:

Shabazz said...

The people of Iran need to know that we got their backs in their amazing,courageous, and it aint over til its over struggle for justice...

Well, who's got our backs?

ch555x said...

cool artwork!

Black Diaspora said...

@Monie: "And I don't think the 'what if everybody did it' question applies since there are probably very few people who could do that, which is part of the point."

The question is applicable: "What if everybody did it?"

Here's Field's question, Monie. He broaden the question to include other similar instances, not just this specific one:

"Should people get to slide when they break the law because they happened to do something clever and ingenious while breaking it?"

When and where do we draw the line? If the law doesn't have merit, or is frivolous, then we should petition that it be changed.

And if changed: we'll be permitting anyone, anytime, to take another's property as long as he/she puts it to a "clever and ingenious" use.

What's clever and ingenious for one, may not be clever and ingenious for another.

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

I just wanted to wish all of the Father on here a HAPPY FATHER's DAY! I pray that you have many more.

field negro said...

Thanks Granny!

"The people of Iran need to know that we got their backs in their amazing,courageous, and it aint over til its over struggle for justice...

Well, who's got our backs?"

The O man?

Black Diaspora, thanks for explaining my position for me. We were in one accord on that one.

kathy said...

the stop sign comparison was a good one, that wouldn't be funny if someone got killed or maimed by a prank.
on the other hand, based on his age, that no one got hurt, that the company liked the creative idea, maybe he should be sentenced to volunteer some community service, like offering free art classes to a community center.
as an aside, there is a man in a wheelchair, i see him quite often, who uses a construction cone to cover his knee, and a clothes store started using construction cones in place of heads on their mannequins, this is on 42nd street in NY.

kathy said...

p.s. Field, thanks for the link to the graffiti art link, i liked it a lot. i also wanted to mention that i know a certain supervisor, who was caught high up on a bridge spray painting graffiti, he didn't lose his job, but he did get demoted. some of that graffiti is done by people who work those places. when we got a contract coming up, i can't believe the stuff i see on the wayside.

RiPPa said...

Wait, allyuh had road sign in Jamaica? Boy we was lucky if de standpipe would wuk all damn day!

Christopher Chambers said...

Field, we were househunting in DC around the vaunted gentrified areas, cool spots, mod rowhouses. And I am damn glad for it, as the po' black folks there have done nothing but tear up the places and look mean. Gimme white chicks pushing babycarriages any day. Did i say po black folks? I mean middle class, upper middle class, blue collar govt worker. Didn't matter.
What's this go to do with prosecuting this guy? Because too mnay black kids in urban areas are wallowing in their own nihilism. These days they are so out of it there aren't even doing grafitti. Indeed, I don't know about Philly, but the black and brown kids doing CREATIVE graffiti in DC and Balto are true untapped raw urban artists, and their urban frescoes stuff is being preserved, or channelled to special walls, City arts project. But the gang tags, the ugly shit, the obscenities on garages and abandoned homes--those kids are being jailed and thank God.
Here, the white artists, artisans, gay men and women--they are not only re-building a community infrastructure, they are putting up an artistic one. Let the guy do it. It's the difference between CREATIVE EXPRESSION AND NIHILISTIC FRUSTRATION, POVERTY. In otherwords, does it add, or does it destroy? Does it add a ;ittle pep to the quality of liffe, as art does, or it more ghetto grim bullshit?

Field, I'm your yardie bred'rin on everything, but when it comes to this sort of thing I go rightwing-Keyes-Christie-Clarence Thomas hahaha like a werewolf at the full moon.

So forget Mumia. Free Carnevale.

when it comes to this

Robert M said...

These crimes are like porn you know it when you see it. In this case that actually helps what the construction firm wants. In addition I have seen so many directions for events that are badly in need of directions like this.

cinco said...

You break the law you pay the price. Sometimes you rt away with it, sometimes you're caught. No passes. Perhaps he's learned a lesson, perhaps not. Discipline is necessary but doesn't need to be extreme.

In terms of Iran, are you serious? I have many causes I believe in supporting,and/or protesting for, but in behalf of disgruntled Iranians is not one of them! There are more urgent issues that affect me and my family/community then people in a country that can't handle their own shit. Where's the outrage here in the US concerning our plight by Iranian Americans or Iranians?

Hmmmmmm, I thought so...

Jackson Brown said...

I graduated from NC State's College of Design and know how contemptuously the students and community members of an engineering school tend to look at artistic creation. This seems to me to be the implementation of a clear-cut double standard.

Granted, looking at other photos of the barrel monster, it looks like it's standing just beyond the sidewalk that borders campus, facing Hillsborough St., a major thoroughfare of Raleigh.

But mind you, this is the same street down which students parade (illegally) after big football victories, drunk and disorderly, completely stopping the flow of traffic, without being arrested. On Franklin St., half an hour away at the University of North Carolina, students start bonfires, overturn cars, and wreck storefronts if they happen to beat Duke in basketball. Few if any arrests occur in these instances, either.

Let the guy make his artwork, and if it happens to stand just beyond the university's jurisdiction, so be it. It's not hurting anyone.

Anonymous said...

@Field, Justice 58 and Granny for the Father’s Day wishes. Lord knows some fathers in the Black community could use a little appreciation.

Field, your blog is one of very few AA blogs that even acknowledged Father’s Day. So thanks again, it is very much appreciated.

east austin said...

happy father's day .... guys.

field negro said...

Thanks anon. 9:27PM. Happy Father's Day east austin.

Yawdie Christopher, I hear ya. We have the grafitti arts projects here too, but those tags are sanctioned. I have no problms with grafitti artists tagging sanctioned murals, but not public property.

Rippa, a Mandeville yu nu mon. Ask de yawdie dem bout Mandeville. A little Amurica dem call it. Mi live betta ina mi house weh mi grow up dan weh mi live now.:)

field negro said...

Jackson Brown, thanks for an insiders view of this story.

Monie said...

@Black Diaspora

You make good points. I just expect the 'law' to look at actual damage done rather than going blindly by the letter of the law.

DuchessDee said...

Nice artwork. Eye catching.

Elena said...

The judge should let him off for he needs to harness that gift into something more meaningful and respecting of other people's property.... nice artwork though.....

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