A visual pun erected by an unknown prankster had motorists scratching their heads earlier this week in the La Costa area of Carlsbad.

Someone bolted a 6-foot-tall sculpture of a fork to the paved median at the intersection of Levante Street and Anillo Way, where Anillo forks away from Levante, a few blocks east of El Camino Real and south of La Costa Boulevard.

By 2 p.m. Wednesday, the upright “fork in the road” sculpture – which was appropriately silver colored, but appeared to be made out of wood – was gone, replaced by a 2-foot-tall, hand-lettered sign that said, “Why the fork not?”

Several city officials said Wednesday morning they had seen digital pictures of the large utensil, but no one seemed to know where it came from.

“I don’t think it will stay,” said Colleen Finnegan, Carlsbad’s community arts coordinator. “As a government employee, I know they (city officials) will look and say this is really clever, but is it safe for traffic?”

A freelance photographer who lives in the area said the sculpture seemed to have been put up sometime Monday night or Tuesday.

Spontaneous art projects can be “a really fun surprise,” Finnegan said, but she added that they also can cause problems.

A good example is the Surfing Madonna, a mosaic tile mural of Madonna on a surfboard riding a wave that was affixed early last year to the concrete wall of a railroad bridge abutment on Encinitas Boulevard in Leucadia.

The unauthorized mural became very popular and was somewhat of a tourist attraction, but it raised numerous issues such as the rights of public access. The artist, Mark Patterson, came forward only after Encinitas officials said the mural would have to be removed and that it could be damaged in the process.

The mural was removed from the bridge weeks later with Patterson’s cooperation and later reinstalled on the wall of a building in Leucadia.

The creator of La Costa’s fork remains anonymous. Finnegan and Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall both said they had no idea who might be responsible.

Carlsbad artist Brian Snyder, known for the frequent topical costumes that adorn the Cardiff Kook statue along Coast Highway 101 in Leucadia, said Wednesday he had just returned from two weeks out of town and knew nothing about the fork sculpture.


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