"I can't confirm that I was the one who actually built that thing. I'd say it was probably a spark of imagination in whoever did it," he told Eyewitness News.
Pictures of the barrel monster spread quickly online - along with Facebook groups supporting the artist.
"If somebody creates a piece of artwork that everybody likes, even if it might have been vandalism or destruction of property, people kind of rally behind it," said Carnevale.
The artist also has supporters at NC State, where Carnavale's a history major.
"I don't think he should have vandalized the construction [barrels] because that's just illegal. But I thought it was creative," offered student Jon Huimel.
Repercussions from the prank have hit Carnavale in the wallet. He says he can't do part time construction work because police seized his tools as part of their investigation.
"I'm just trying to keep my head down as far as the law goes - not get in trouble over anything else - just trying to get some money together," he said.
Carnevale said he wants to give some money to the construction company that had pieces of its property cut up to build the monster.
"I'm still gonna try and pay them for the barrels," he said.
"Even though you didn't necessarily do it?" asked Eyewitness News.
"Even though I didn't necessarily do it," he replied.