Crews successfully take down Surfing Madonna mosaic - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Crews successfully take down Surfing Madonna mosaic

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ENCINITAS, Calif. (CBS 8) - The "Surfing Madonna" mosaic that had hung on an Encinitas overpass for months has successfully been removed without incurring any damage.

"I'm very grateful for the way this has been handled," said the mosaic's creator, long-time Encinitas resident Mark Patterson. "The crew has done such a professional job."

Patterson says the artwork will be stored at his home in Encinitas until a new location can be found where the "Surfing Madonna," with its message of "Save the Ocean" can again be publicly viewed.

Patterson emphasized that the 10'-10' creation is not for sale.

"Please just be aware that you may not see her for a little while - but I promise you, she is not for sale and she will be coming back as originally my gift to the community of Encinitas and all who visit here," Patterson wrote in a statement.

During the removal process Wednesday night, the artist, a representative from the Encinitas City Manager's office and a team of workers were gathered in front of a crowd of spectators as they removed the artwork in panels.

The popular - but illegal - mural appeared on Encinitas Blvd just before Easter. Since then, it's been the center of much speculation about its creator and debate over whether it should be allowed to stay.

Under threat of being removed by the city, the mysterious artist Mark Patterson came forward and agreed to take his artwork down to avoid it being damaged or destroyed.

Patterson has also agreed to reimburse the city of Encinitas $2,125 it paid to an art conservancy firm hired to figure out how to remove the mural without damaging it. Additionally, Patterson will pay a $500 fine for illegally hanging the mosaic, which is technically considered graffiti.

Patterson will retain ownership of the artwork, and will help determine where its permanent home will be.

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