The artist behind the buzzed-about mosaic mural in Encinitas sent word through an attorney Wednesday afternoon that he’d made the piece and was willing to help take it down so the piece wouldn’t be damaged, the Union-Tribune reported last night.

The artist, Leucadia’s Mark Patterson, gave an interview to Fox 5, saying that the piece was intended to be a gift to the city to remind all who’d see it to care for the ocean.

“My intent was not to stick it to anybody,” Patterson said. “My intent was to provide a blessing to the community.”

He talked in the interview about his vision for the piece, which goes back to 2005 and took him to Italy to study the craft of mosaic-making. The news station posted the entire 19-minute interview on its website; the footage unfolds an interesting story of artistic passion, symbolism and the community’s response. Patterson said it didn’t occur to him that the city might have a say in whether the art could stay — “it was a very big, ignorant oversight on my part.” He apologized for creating more work for the city, where he said he knows people in the City Attorney’s Office.

Patterson’s letter to the city explains that he’ll reveal an “easy removal process that would leave 18 screw-holes in the train bridge,” according to the U-T.

The train bridge where he installed the artwork “was the place it was supposed to be,” he said.

“I understand if the city wants to remove it and give it away to 7-Eleven or the Catholic church or whatever,” he said in the clip. “I don’t care what happens. I really have let it go.”

The letter from his attorney continues:

If it remains the city’s decision to remove the art from its present location, be assured that Mark and I will cooperate fully in the city’s effort to remove the artwork and relocate it in a suitable location.

On our Facebook last night, Alfa Santos said, “I think he should have stayed anonymous.” Debby Hammill Wells said, “get a clue encinitas — geez! FREE art?”

Does Patterson’s interview make you think differently about the piece? What do you think the city of Encinitas should do? Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page.

I’ve been reposting a few responses to our question about what the city should do on Twitter. On our post yesterday, Mary Laiuppa commented:

$2,000 so far to have a popular art piece removed?
Wouldn’t it be cheaper to simply vote on a variance, approve the piece and grant an exception? It’s wouldn’t be the first. see: mermaid.

I’m not sure what mermaid piece she’s talking about. Do you know? And what do you think of her suggestion? Leave us a note.

I am the arts editor for VOSD. You can reach me directly at or 619.325.0531. Or you can keep up with me on Twitter @kellyrbennett or on Facebook.

Kelly Bennett

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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