ENCINITAS — Since 2007, the bronze Magical Carpet Ride sculpture, known locally as the Cardiff Kook, has been a canvas for local artists, activists and families looking for a way to celebrate a special occasion or protest a cause.
Over the years, the surfer has been swallowed by an enormous shark, snatched by a pterodactyl or wished residents a happy birthday.
And now a book, organized and released by Cardiff 101 Main Street, will soon be released as a collection of photographs showcasing the many different faces of the Cardiff Kook.
“It’s guerilla art,” said Alison Wielechowski, program director for Cardiff 101 Main Street. “It’s not officially sanctioned by the city of Encinitas or Cardiff 101 but it is definitely part of our culture.”
Many of the photos included in the book, “The Cardiff Kook,” were taken by longtime Encinitas resident Fred Caldwell, owner of Caldwell Antiques in Leucadia.
Caldwell previously produced a calendar filled with photos of the Kook.
“I think it’s a great idea because it’s not time-sensitive like the calendar was,” Caldwell said. “But a book is more of a history to me. It logs what’s going on in Cardiff and it’s unusual in that regard.”
The statue has been used in a variety of ways over the years and the book will attempt to cover all of them through its different sections including photo art installations, causes and celebrations.
“We felt like we were able to capture this former sleepy beach town, now very high on the map of North County, with beautiful images of our beaches as well as an opportunity to showcase the different images of the Kook over the years,” Wielechowski said.
The book will also include some historical context behind the statue, including information about its sculptor, Matthew Antichevich.
Wielechowski says the book is a testament to how the Cardiff community has supported the arts over the years.
“This is a way for us to have art come to our community in a different way than being on a building or on a utility box,” Wielechowski said.
This is the first time Cardiff 101 has released any kind of book of photography. The first run is scheduled for 1,000 copies in mid-December and pre-orders are available now on the Cardiff 101 website.
The book can be shipped anywhere in the country but will ship free to those in 92007- 92024 ZIP codes. Proceeds from the sale of the book will go to supporting Cardiff 101 and its small business members.
“It represents this community. Even if you are living in Leucadia, or Encinitas, or anywhere in North County, it is representing your community. It doesn’t matter if you are right in the heart of Cardiff or live in La Mesa,” Wielechowski said. “It’s a cool book, it just has a lot of neat things you can look at over and over again.”