Barrel Monster Spotted On Hillsborough Street

Barrel of Laughs

June, 01, 2009, by Tim

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Remember the short-lived angry man graffiti by the Boylan Bridge? U Live and You Burn decided to deface (or face actually) the neighboring industrial hopper. Well it seems one of Raleigh’s more creative saboteurs is back at it, but this time the culprit has delved into the sculptural side of vandalism. Using the orange construction barrels on Hillsborough Street alongside NCSU, U Live and You Burn constructed a monster-sized barrel man to help divert traffic away from the ongoing road construction.

I couldn’t get it out of my head. Its 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 arrived in a flash and snatched them up from where they stood on the street. As I threw them into the trunk of the vehicle I had to rough them up some so they would fit. I shoved and beat and mangled them into place and was off before any witnesses knew what had even happened.

Later on that night, they stood huddled in the corner of the room, silent. They looked on while I slowly set out the duct tape and plugged in the power drill. Then I pulled out the switchblade and released the cold metal blade. They would never be the same.

Photo and quote from

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Inside the BeltlineNCSUNC State Areavandalismstreet artgraffitisculpture


  • kg
    06/01 06:57 PM

    that’s awesome.  wished they’d kept the angry man.

  • Imagine Raleigh
    06/01 08:06 PM

    We need to give this guy a job teaching local High School kids “How to pull off Senior Pranks”, “not get arrested and live to take credit.”

    He is a master of his craft. Be Safe!!!!

  • nostros
    06/01 08:24 PM

    that right there is some cool shit

  • Tony
    06/01 08:42 PM


    Is it still up?  I want to head over and take a looksy.

  • TB
    06/01 09:11 PM

    Awesome.  I wish I could have witnessed this.  Is it still up?  Where do I donate to future rogue art endeavors in Raleigh?

  • Caid
    06/01 10:04 PM

    It is no longer up for those asking.  It was actually taken down by noon the next day.  Sad.

    I always enjoy fantastic graffiti and gags such as this.  It truly is in fact “art.”  Everyone appreciates this and all of the pranks this fellow pulls in various cities.

    There are several well painted objects around NC States campus (not in the free expression tunnel) that the school has graciously left untouched.

    One of these is very close to the tunnel, and I happened to “Stumble Upon” this image of it recently. 

    The mouth has since been painted over, but the eyeball is there to this day.

  • Darwin
    06/01 10:10 PM

    This, is awesome.

  • Dreadnought
    06/01 10:58 PM

    Most impressive.

  • TheRevolutionCorporation
    06/02 01:31 AM

    this is absolutely *great* ... 
    seems a lot of people debated if they liked the Angry Man or not, but that too was truly a great thing for Raleighwood.  Raleigh is full of boring blue button down wearing yups, that just don’t get it… but this stuff *is* art, and it’s amping up Raleigh’s credibility as a place with some creative soul.  the Triangle repeatedly gets noted as “The Best Place To Live”, by Business Week type mags, but it really hasn’t been know as a mecca of culture.  i’ve been telling friends all over for years that Raleigh actually was, & i guess is (i live in DC now) a very artsy city.  i *wish* you could see something this cool on the streets in DC… no way.  now i want to come back to the ‘wood for a First Friday!  i used to have zoom! gallery on S. Wilmington St. ... reopening it this coming Fall in Brooklyn… maybe we’ll touch base in Raleigh again some day soon…

  • uliveandyouburn
    06/02 01:34 AM

    Hahaha, that snorkel monster was actually mine too, back when I painted under the name “Loki” before I found out that name was taken. This isn’t the first time I’ve done barrels either.

    Check out the set for some of my other artistic vandalism.

    To those that like it, thank you. More stuff is on the way.

    To TB, if you have any leftover paint lying in your garage or somethin, shoot me an e-mail

  • aburtch
    06/02 10:22 AM

    Excellent work.  This is truly modern art.  Love the expression on barrel monster.

  • James C.
    06/02 11:17 AM

    Maybe I’m getting old, but dude stole property to make this happen. If he had bought the barrels, or offered to repay the state for the cost of the barrels he took to make the statue, then great.

    But that doesn’t sound like it was the case, and—with as much tax money that already comes out of my pocket—forcing the state to replace these barrels at our expense sucks.

    Just my two cents.

  • oakcity
    06/02 11:45 AM

    lighten up francis.

  • Steve
    06/02 12:09 PM

    They can take the money to replace the barrels out of Mary Easly’s salary.

  • uliveandyouburn
    06/02 01:23 PM

    The barrels don’t belong to “the state.” One was mine, two were pulled from a construction project far away, and one was from the Hamlett road work company that is working on Hillsborough.

    Also, these companies factor in the loss of 10% of their barricades due to vehicle impact in their bids to the city or state. If they really want to come after me for about $30 worth of plastic taken from in a multi-million dollar job then I’ll hand them crisp dollars for the trouble

  • James C.
    06/02 01:56 PM

    ulive: First, let me state that I love the sculpture. It’s very well done. Also, I commend you for using one of your own barrels for the project.

    I still feel a twinge of condemnation, however, that you had to steal personal property (regardless of whether it was from the state itself or from the contracted companies hired by the state) in order to produce it. Had you told me you pulled the barrels from the recycling bin or from the landfill, I’d have ZERO problems with the art. Period.

    But perhaps getting married and having kids changes you, and from where I sit now, I see stolen property turned into artwork. It may not amount to much, monetarily (though I suspect three stolen barrels amounts to much more than $30 in preplacement cost), but there is a principle at play here. It’s a tacit acknowledgment that it’s ok to steal from a company or the state, just so long as it’s put to good use in the form of artwork.

    Yeah, am I making a big deal out of essentially nothing? Sure. But I just know that if I owned the construction company working on the HB St. project or the one “far away,” I’d be pissed, regardless of whether or not I thought the art was aesthetically pleasing.

  • Argo
    06/02 02:11 PM

    James, let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Please go shake your tiny fists in the air elsewhere.

  • James C.
    06/02 02:17 PM

    My fists are quite proportional to the rest of me, thank you very much.

    Never said I was sinless or blameless…just that if you have to steal in order to create your art, it sets a poor example for others, especially kids.

    But I’m sure all you got from my comments was “blah blah blah I hate art blah blah blah you damn hippies blah blah blah get a job blah blah blah venti mocha latte, etc.,” so hate on.

  • i
    06/02 02:25 PM

    I’m with James on this one. Cool piece of art, uncool to steal from people in order to make it. Very uncool.

  • taco
    06/02 02:33 PM

    Officially, shame; unofficially, everyone loves it…

    I am going to see if Hamlett kept it…and maybe the project can use it to direct folk to parking…

  • Imagine Raleigh
    06/02 02:35 PM

    I’ve never stolen a barrel but I’ve hit a few. I think this is a great prototype as a road construction warning device. The “Angry Barrel Man” works as a device to direct traffic.

    Your efforts could save millions by Recycling the barrels I hit into “Art with a purpose”.

  • this is your wonderland
    06/02 02:40 PM

    brilliant! If Banksy lived in Raleigh, I’d expect him to do the same thing. Adding humor and art to this tough world is A-ok with me!

  • Betsy
    06/02 03:31 PM

    Now that’s some ‘traffic calming’.

  • notyournormalraleighite
    06/02 03:37 PM

    If banksy lived in Raleigh, we’d be talking about a lot more street art than we have here.  I’m all for any type that I see - whether it be good or bad. 

    And as for setting examples for kids:  That’s the job of the parents.  I don’t want kids nor am I personally trying to be anyones role model.  That isn’t my job.

  • Troy
    06/02 10:52 PM

    I hope the city saved that!  It’s truly a work of art!  Kudos!  Bravo!

  • rich
    06/03 08:58 AM

    since “street art” is legally considered vandalism, don’t be so surprised when a bit of petty theft takes place, too. if this were city-sanctioned art it would be far less cool. you naysayers are such boners.

  • CD2
    06/03 09:48 AM

    This is what Raleigh needs. More people to make art like this. James take your kids and some chalk and make some art on the street it is vandalize but they will have fun.

  • kate
    06/03 10:04 AM

    parents are hardly the only ones who are concerned with ethics in our society.

  • James C.
    06/03 10:18 AM

    rich - Never been called a boner before. That’s a new one to me. I’m sure the wife will like it.
    CD2 - Drawing on the sidewalk is quite a bit different than what we’re talking about here, don’t you think? I consider vandalism (at least the kind worth worrying about) to be work that’s permanent or requires cost on the property owner’s part to fix/repair. Sidewalk chalk washes away easily, hence the reason they market it to kids for that very purpose. Trying to say sidewalk chalk art is on a par with theft or vandalism is stretching quite a bit to support your viewpoint in the matter.
    I certainly didn’t intend for this to morph into a discussion of the role of parents in the home in instill ethics in our children. I agree that a lot of parents in today’s society drop the ball in that regard. But don’t you see the irony in condemning parents for not teaching their kids proper ethics while you champion the virtue of stealing to create art? You want others to fix the problem. How about leading by example? How about creating the sculpture, then making note that all of the barrels were recycled barrels destined for the landfill that were instead given new life in this beautiful form?
    Guess that takes some of the edge off, though, right?

  • sally
    06/03 10:18 AM

    That is awesome. I wish I’d seen it in real life (with my kids)....

  • Dwight
    06/03 10:23 AM

    This is a great work of art! We need more of this in Raleigh.

  • TheRevolutionCorporation
    06/03 10:46 AM

    graffiti and petty vandalism is always going to happen…  at least this stuff enriches a few peoples’ days.  there will be those that love or hate anything, so there’s no way you guys (the lovers & the haters of this art statement) will agree on this topic.  i love this stuff, but even i have an inner debate about graffiti & vandal art being a trespass. if the art is bad, my mind will say “bad vandal”.  if the art is good, my mind’s eye rejoices and tells me “that’s awesome”.  i’d guess all of us are hypocritical in this manner at some time or another.
    in this genre of art, the theft of composition materials, or space, seems to be part of the culture.  in my every day life i don’t agree with theft of any kind, but i have to admit that i didn’t care about the theft of the barricades in this instance, because i was taken by the “that’s awesome” moment.  i’d hope that a progressive barricade company (or any other industrial material company) would see ulaub’s work and offer a sponsorship.  it would be cool if we thought one of these installations was a random act of vandal art, and then wallah we found out that it was actually a commission by the city or some local gallery or arts organization. 
    a lot of street artists are graduating to galleries these days, and it’s interesting that as soon as they hit the galleries,  their work becomes less interesting.  would this barricade man be as interesting if sitting in the corner of a gallery?  no way.

  • James C.
    06/03 10:50 AM

    Excellent post, TRC. That summed up my feelings on it pretty well.

  • David M.
    06/03 11:59 AM

    I’m not a fan of purloined materials but I sure will think about construction barrels differently from now on. I am thinking this is repurposing rather than stealing. Maybe not with consent of the owner, but i would love to be a fly on the wall at the foreman’s meeting before the work started that day.

  • The Jenius
    06/03 06:22 PM

    I love it.  I think this is some amazing stuff.  Keep it up.  I have a crapload of 55gal drums I can donate if you have something fresh you can do with them. 

    You can be Raleigh’s very own Turk 182.

  • Esther
    06/03 06:26 PM

    I went to the Wilmont party up the street and saw kids taking pictures with it. The next day as I biked home, I saw some bewildered cops shaking their heads and laughing. They had moved it over near Jasmine. It was hysterical, I am glad the world has people like this person! How boring it would be with just caution signs.

  • Annie
    06/03 06:40 PM

    While I think this project is absolutely awesome, I wish the barrels had been purchased instead of taken. My dad’s side of the family are all involved in construction, and I know that these barrels are not cheap (certainly more than $10 each), and they have to be replaced when stolen or damaged. Just because this is a fantastic art piece/prank doesn’t mean making someone else pay for it is cool.

  • John
    06/03 07:15 PM

    As a tax payer, I don’t mind that I’m paying fractions of a penny to replace these barrels.

  • JasonH
    06/04 11:27 AM

    stealing isn’t cool? All life can only continue by consuming other forms of life. You wouldn’t last a week without stealing life from another plant or animal. but your rule only applies to humans social contract for “property” right?

  • James C.
    06/04 11:33 AM

    Jason, by that logic, murder is socially acceptable because we “murder” animals and plants to eat them.

    For what it’s worth, I only eat dirt stolen from the ground and drink water stolen from the rain clouds (but hey, they dropped it—finders keepers!).

  • dan donovan
    06/04 11:44 AM

    Great work!
    As an owner of the company I’d to stress that the barrels are there to protect the public….. but otherwise we think you showed wonderful imagination. I’m afraid the copycats will be out in force now.
    We’d love to get a good copy of the photo for our advertising.

    Contact me if you can.

  • JasonH
    06/04 11:57 AM

    yes James, we only call it murder when we don’t approve of the killing. Sort of like it only called a drug if you don’t have permission from the government to take it.

  • Not I Said the Squirrel
    06/04 12:11 PM

    Wow.  The owner is asking for contact?  Call me a skeptic, but isn’t contacting (hell even responding on here and taking credit) ratting on yourself?

  • James C.
    06/04 12:20 PM

    [Admiral Akbar]IT’S A TRAP!!![/Admiral Akbar]

  • Karl
    06/05 05:00 PM

    Hey, I just farted in the elevator.
    Guess I’m an artist too.

  • AberZombie
    06/05 05:22 PM

    I dunno if this was moved or taken down, but I’ve seen the “waist” on the sidewalk..

  • jeremy
    06/10 10:59 PM

    we can all say what we want about this, but it has now served it’s purpose as art.. conversation was conceived and opinions were hung out for all to see. how awesome is this piece? i, as a taxpayer, also will happily shill out a couple more pennies for something like this.

  • arthurb3
    06/11 11:00 AM

    I rather my tax dollars go for this then into Mary Easley’s pockets!!

  • smitty
    06/11 01:27 PM

    On channel 11 news, RPD is investigating.  uliveandyouburnandyougotojail

  • miggetymac
    06/11 02:24 PM

    and thats why you don’t claim things you do.

  • 9one9
    06/11 03:09 PM

    Im sure you can find a lot of these barrels at the state surplus location.

    I know they have a bunch of state owned crap they are selling, so they might also stock the barrels, not sure, havnt been there in a while.

  • North_Raleigh_Guy
    06/12 12:25 AM

    Just saw on WRAL that they arrested the guy who made the Barrel Monster. Bummer :-(

  • oakcity
    06/12 09:58 AM




  • Kevin
    06/12 10:20 AM

    Cops love loudmouths who openly brag about their ‘crimes’ ya big dummy.

    I love the art. Very creative. The ‘not getting caught’ skills are completely absent though.

  • arthurb3
    06/12 10:56 AM

    Someone must have ratted him out?

  • Kevin
    06/12 11:15 AM

    Arthur, he ratted himself out right here and elsewhere. {see his own comments near the start of these comments; ‘uliveandyouburn’ }

    Unless he wanted to be charged and end up with a larceny conviction on his record for all future employers to see, he is not as bright as his art is. Stupid is stupid.

    ‘uliveandyoulearn’ !

  • Ray
    06/12 01:11 PM

    Hamlett Construction are a bunch of wack azz beeches!

  • rubbernecker
    06/12 01:56 PM

    They should arrest easley, oblinger and nielsen instead of this guy.

  • Curleyfaz
    06/12 02:58 PM

    Love it! Love it! Love it! Come to Charlotte and raise some Hell!

  • Ashley
    06/12 03:07 PM

    It’s crap that he’s being charged. Pay for the barrels and be done with it.

  • Zippo
    06/12 03:19 PM

    Think of it this way, guys.  Yeah, they lost a few barrels, but they gained a priceless piece of art!!  I’d say the construction companies got a net profit.

  • bcb
    06/12 05:22 PM

    Great piece of art if you ask me.  Dumb artist though.  Anyone who actively participates in vandalism whether it be graffiti or fabricating barrel monsters has to recognize his/her acts are illegal and they will and should be prosecuted if caught. Anonymity may not impress friends but it will keep you from getting busted.

  • Ryan
    06/12 09:22 PM

    NM state weighing in. ULUB: Brilliant. An extra reminder to slow down and pat attention in the construction zone is always needed, and something such as this may not only do that, but also lighten the mood of many drivers who are unhappy with having to negotiate construction traffic.

    Yeah, you stole. Bad artist.

    Perhaps all this recent publicity can get individuals in your community to realize that your work can be put to use and you will be commissioned with carte blanch work.

  • HillsboroughRedesign
    06/12 11:40 PM

    Barrel Monster on The Young Turks!!!

  • giveafrakk
    06/13 01:42 AM

    James, you just proved how irrelevant your perspective is. 

    It’s a TARP! fool.

    Carry on.

  • Jon
    06/15 11:58 AM

    No one complains of their taxes going to welfare recipients yet you condem this guy for making barrel art at “the taxpayers expense”. I would rather my wasted tax money go to something I’M going to enjoy. Kudos. Maybe Asheville would be more accomadating. Keep up the good work.

  • matt
    06/15 12:16 PM

    No one complains about their taxes going to “welfare” recipients? What country are you living in?

    1. There IS no “welfare”. 2. People still complain about it.

  • el beanzo
    06/15 05:18 PM

    Where can I get a “free uliveandyouburn” t-shirt?

  • John Dough
    06/17 06:21 PM

    He didn’t destroy the barrels!  They’re still being used to direct and caution motorists.  So they’re NOT vandalized!  IN fact, they’re doing a much better job of calling attention to the construction area.  He simply ‘re-arranged’ them. 
    THis guy is extremely talented.

  • Sarah
    06/18 11:06 AM

    check out this. It made the Associated Press

    Traffic-barrel monster leads to arrest

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    04/02 01:46 AM

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    “That’s amazing!” exclaimed the father.
    “You can tell all of that by just listening to the ground?”
    “No,” said the old tribesman. “They just ran over me five minutes ago!”

    Happy April Fool’s Day!

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    05/19 07:29 PM

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