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'Surfing Madonna' mosaic in Encinitas removed

June 23, 2011 |  6:09 am

The mosaic dubbed the "Surfing Madonna," which had been an object of curiosity and controversy in the seaside suburb of Encinitas in northern San Diego County, was removed Wednesday night under an agreement between the artist and city officials.

Under the agreement, the mosaic is to be relocated off public property. The artist, Mark Patterson, paid the cost of the removal, as well as a $500 fine and other expenses attached to the mysterious appearance and now removal of the mosaic on the bridge overpass near Moonlight Beach.

Sheriff's deputies stopped traffic along Encinitas Boulevard while workers took about 90 minutes to remove the mosaic, which shows Our Lady of Guadalupe riding a surfboard and has the logo "Save the Ocean" along the left side.

Initially, the identity of the artist was unknown. But once his name was found at the top of the mosaic, Patterson come forward, with his attorney, and began negotiations with the city as residents debated whether the work should be treated as art or graffiti.


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-- Tony Perry in Encinitas

Photo: Children explore the "Surfing Madonna" mosiac that appeared mysteriously April 22 and was removed Wednesday night. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times