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Man gets boat painted on fence that city made him put up to hide it

A man responded to a city letter ordering him to build a fence in front of his boat by having a mural of the boat painted on the fence. (KSBW via CNN)
A man responded to a city letter ordering him to build a fence in front of his boat by having a mural of the boat painted on the fence. (KSBW via CNN)

SEASIDE, Calif. (KSBW) - A California man who was told by city officials he needed to put a fence up to hide his boat from public view did just that – with a twist.

Etienne Constable says he received a letter from the City of Seaside in July 2023. The city required him to build a 6-foot coverage screen in front of his boat. After discussing the plan with his neighbor, Constable decided to build the fence – with a lifelike painting of the boat on it.

“I’m not a rule-breaker, but I like to make a political statement as necessary, as well as a humorous statement and a creative statement,” Constable said.

He says he’s happy with how the mural turned out.

Images of the fence have gone viral online, with thousands of comments across social media. Both Constable and Hanif Panni, the artist behind the display, say they were surprised by how big of a response the painting has received.

“I’m all in favor of generating discussion and making people smile,” Constable said. “The reaction is extremely more than we ever expected, and we’re both just tickled about it.”

So far, the city has not responded to the fence mural. Constable says he considers it a First Amendment right of expression and would be surprised if the city tells him to take the mural down.

Panni, who has murals around the Central Coast, says the piece creates a conversation about what’s an eyesore and what is art.

“I’m a big proponent of public art in spaces,” he said. “It engages people in ways that reaching out and having conversations doesn’t sometimes.”

With all the attention the fence is getting, Panni says other Seaside residents have already asked for him to create murals for their boat fences.