Monday, February 21, 2011

Public Art Comments Requested: Swamis Head

Local woodcarver Tim Richards, has been  given the green light to carve away at the 10 foot tall Torrey Pines stump at Swamis park (WITHOUT GOING THROUGH A NORMAL ART REVIEW PROCESS) . The Leucadia Blog loves the idea. We realize that we only represent the vast majority of the public and not everyone, so we think the project can be improved by letting the public comment on the project prior to installation/creation.


  • The public might have some ideas on how to improve the concept. Including those comments in the decision making during execution can make the final piece true public art. Here's an example, the Rapa Nui statues apparently had eyes that made the statues more striking. If there are artists who would be willing to craft some eyes, Tim Richards just might decide to add the eyes to the sculpture!  ewwwh, collaborations among local artists?  This is the town for that!
  • If the public thinks the whole thing doesn't fit in with the sensibilities of the site, its better to know that before, rather than after the thing is carved (or approved... but we'll work on lessons forgotten next time).
  • This thing is not being funded by the taxpayer, so this is a different sort of animal, but there are opportunity costs to consider. Maybe there is a grossly overlooked concept that we missed.
  • Public art forced on the public, in a publicly owned place, using public resources seem to be a prefect place for the government to set the best example of how to include the public in the decision making process. That is why someone posted a "think first" poster on the tree. The city again approved prominent art without putting the concept on display, like this.      Maybe next time. 

We can all help to increase the sense of shared public ownership of this public asset. Public art should have some connection to the public if it is to be as meaningful as it can be. We are ready to give Tim Richard's an orchid for his desire to get public feedback before he starts carving on March 14th. 
Photo: Courtesy of Tim Richards.
We know that few people will care enough to comment, but expect that almost all will appreciate Tim's willingness to include the public. Especially those who consider Swamis their real home. Please leave your comments here ( or email them to We'll pass them on to Tim.


  1. A tiki, huh?
    So you guys want a tiki at Swamis?

    Ok, that's fine, I guess, but why is a duck carver from Utah carving a tiki for us?
    Will this be the second tiki he's ever carved?
    Why wouldn't we get a master wood carver like
    Tiki Tony to carve a real tiki for us?

    Is this going to be the next Kook?

  2. I like the idea of adding eyes.

  3. Carve a fat middle aged surfer with a longboard scratching his crotch. It will fit right in.

  4. I like Huntington's idea. Add a button that you can push to hear him complain about: potholes, the city council, drainage or any number of other city issues. A real interactive piece.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. why not carve a bonsai tree, aren't there enough fat heads hangin round

  7. Buried lede or ironic metaphor?
    "A local artist got the go-ahead Wednesday to transform a stump of a Torrey pine at Swami's park into a huge human head, reminiscent of the massive stone statues on Easter Island" ("Encinitas council approves temporary art project at Swami's," Feb. 17).
    Barbara Henry's opening on the Feb. 16 Encinitas City Council meeting about the Easter Island head was odd because the council's rejection of the environmental action plan presented was the major story of the night. Elizabeth Taylor presented a strategy to systematically address the interconnected goals over a 10-year period.
    Then I thought of Jared Diamond's work on Easter Island, the vanished empire ("Easter Island's end," August 1995, Discover Magazine). It begins, "In just a few centuries, the people of Easter Island wiped out their forest, drove their plants and animals to extinction, and saw their complex society spiral into chaos and cannibalism. Are we about to follow their lead?"
    Henry's ironic juxtaposition of a giant head symbol with the failure to protect the environment is accidental. Diamond again: "Corrective action is blocked by vested interests, by well-intentioned political and business leaders, and by their electorates, all of whom are perfectly correct in not noticing big changes from year to year. Instead, each year there are just somewhat more people, and somewhat fewer resources, on Earth."
    Kate David

  8. As I write this, NCTD is chopping down, instead of trimming, ten big euclypyus trees.
    That sucks.
    They had agreed to contact the community prior to doing any removals.
    Who is our NCTD representative?
    How about our alternative representative?
    This sucks.

  9. NCTD has stopped the tree felling, for now.

  10. I vote a huge marble statue of Zeus with eternal flame coming out of his butt.

  11. would that be Hephaestus with eternal fire from his butt?

  12. who needs another flaming a-hole statue...isn't the kook's trailing dribble enough

  13. I like the idea of a tiki head, and appreciate that there is opportunity for comment. This does not mean however that the city will take the input, and of course, the fact that it did not even request community input and comment is telling.

  14. carve a statue of that red headed barney Keith from NYC..that way we'll always get to have a statue of one of swamiis dick headed crusty rock creatures.

  15. I'm not sure a Tiki has anything to do with the history or tradition of the site. I also wonder how SRF feels about it? It's an idol isn't it (not sure about's just a question)? I don't think it's appropriate to attack individules as I see others have posted (please stop the hate talk). What about some recognition of Noonans Point? Why did the City pick a non-local artist? Isn't Encinitas a meca of talented artists? What are the terms of the agreement with the City? Are we stuck with this thing. I don't understand how City Officials can ignore the troubles with public art such as the "bars" in Carlsbad or the Kook. I like the idea of something interactice that celebrates Encinitas history and culture as it relates to Swamis. Swamis is very special in many ways. Does the artist understand that? Does the artist relate to surfing or how it feels to catch a wave and ride it or the joy we get from our experience with the ocean? If the project proceeds as planned the City will loose an opportinity to do the exceptional. Is there a chance they can go back and give this more thought and planning?

  16. Thank you for your comments. I would just like to point out that I have been a homeowner and taxpayer in Encinitas since 1985, and a resident of San Diego county since 1976. For the past 4 years I have lived part time in Utah. I have been body surfing and swimming in the ocean since 1976. While I do carve ducks, I also carve fish, horse heads, tikis, abstracts and whatever I feel like carving.

    I first submitted a rendering last november. Ther were only 2 carvers who were interested in doing this volunteer project. It is a temporary work, so you won't be stuck with it forever. A tree trunk is not suitable for a highly detailed carving, because as the trunk dries out it will crack and split.

  17. Jon P. do you still have the art work of those swamis tees from a few years ago. That would be the perfect

  18. Betcha the temporary sculpture will be there for 10 years... Why not carve a cool stylized temple turret to fit in with the theme of the place, rather than a kitschy tiki?

  19. I do carve ducks, I also carve fish, horse heads, tikis, abstracts and whatever I feel like carving.
    Beach Cruisers


Thank you for posting on the Leucadia Blog.
There is nothing more powerful on this Earth than an anonymous opinion on the Internet.
Have at it!!!