CARLSBAD — A whale tail has made its way to the roundabout at Carlsbad Boulevard and State Street.
The latest public arts project, the Coastal Helix, was installed on Aug. 28 by artist Roger White Stoller.
The 12-foot stainless steel sculpture, which weighs 1,400 pounds, was brought down from Stoller’s studio in San Jose, Calif.
Stoller used a laser cut technique to weave in a heron, crab, pelican and birds of paradise into the modern piece. Some other abstract figures made it into the sculpture, and he said, let them stay.
The structure sits on top of a large boulder and LED lights are hidden in a nearby boulder, so the structure will be lit at night.
The Arts Commission panel chose him out of more than 80 other artists, including international submissions.
“They wanted to find an artist they felt they could work with,” said Stoller, “They wanted to find someone who could bang it out and not spend more than a year, so that was part of the reason I was a fit.”
He’s done three pieces similar, which is why he was able to make it so quickly.
Last year, city council allotted $100,000 for the piece.
Vincent Kitch, cultural arts manager for the city, said the piece weaves in elements from the ocean and the nearby Buena Vista Lagoon.
Stoller met with city officials and members of the community to find out what best personified the city.
He said he was familiar with the beach town vibe after growing up in Santa Monica.
The sculpture is located at the northern gateway to the city and has taken about nine months to complete, said Kitch.
The sculpture was installed with the help of a crane and took less than an hour. One incoming lane and one outbound lane in the roundabout were closed but no significant traffic impacts came as a result of the installation.
One resident came by and was overjoyed by meeting the artist.
“I can’t believe I’m here the day they install it!” she exclaimed.
A dedication ceremony will be held Sept. 10.