- 11 June 2011 | Surfing
Mark Patterson, the artist who designed Encinitas’ "Surfing Madonna", has publicly defended that his work of art can be removed without destroying it. The man who has put Our Lady of Guadalupe riding a surfboard is 58 years old and once worked in the software industry.
The controversy coloured mosaic show in a wall under a train bridge has attracted thousands of visitors. Some citizens think it should be removed, while other believe the "Surfing Madonna" is great for tourism and for Encinitas.
The local authorities are confused. The 10-by-10-foot rock and glass piece of art does not offend, but there are people saying it is sacrilegious to have Mexico's patron saint surfing waves. At least, the artwork has made everyone think. Patterson says he is available to help remove the mosaic, if that's the final decision.
Anton Gerschler, the artist's attorney, believes that if removed properly, only 18 small screw holes in the wall would be left behind and they could be easily filled, while causing no substantial damage. City officials are afraid of opening precedents in a community "full of artists". James Bond, the Encinitas Mayor, is divided.
"I really wanted to give something to my community, something that would be beautiful. At least, beautiful to me. The public reaction has been overwhelming. As I created the mosaic it was intended as a gift. I really wanted no visibility", the artist added in NBC.
The future of "Surfing Madonna" is still not clear, but surfing and religion never were so beautiful.