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Monday, June 27, 2011

The Surfing Madonna

If you live in North County (Coastal) San Diego you have undoubtedly heard about the controversial Surfing Madonna glass mosaic that mysteriously appeared in April under the railroad bridge at Vulcan and Encinitas Blvd. No one knew where it came from or who created it. It was like one of those miraculous events that no one could explain. Clad in rubber booties with a serene smile on her face and hands clasped in prayer, Our Lady of Guadalupe rides a wave next to the words "Save The Ocean".

And now it's gone. But not so miraculously. While many people loved it and felt that it very beautifully depicted the local love and devotion to our ocean, the installation of it violated city regulations that requires approval for all installations. Without city approval, this 10' x 10' piece of art is considered graffiti.

Several weeks later, artist Mark Patterson stepped forward when the city decided it would take it down - possibly in pieces. On June 23rd, Patterson was able to remove it intact, but had to shell out a couple thousand dollars to reimburse the city for a study conducted on removing the installation.

[caption id="attachment_1108" align="alignnone" width="150" caption="(Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1109" align="alignnone" width="101" caption="(Charlie Neuman/SD Union Tribune)"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1110" align="alignnone" width="150" caption="(Sean M. Haffey/SD Union Tribune)"][/caption]


My opinion is that this was a very cool piece of art that beautified an otherwise ugly space. The city received a gift and they chose to return it. I think it's sad. I understand that protocol wasn't followed, but I still think it's a shame. The good news is that Patterson in now in possession of it again and maybe he'll decide to have it installed in a more conspicuous location that will give it the respect it deserves.

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