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Man gets realistic picture of his boat painted on a fence intended to hide it

A California man who was ordered to keep his boat out of sight has had the last laugh by commissioning an artist to paint a realistic image of it on the fence that obscures it.

Local government officials told Etienne Constable, of Seaside, California, in July that he had to build a 6-foot fence to hide the boat from view of his neighbors.

In a light-hearted jibe at officialdom, Constable decided to follow the directive, which said nothing about how the fence should be decorated, and asked local artist Hanif Panni to create a mural that makes it look as if the fence isn’t there.

“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,” he told NBC affiliate KSBW of Monterey Bay.

Man gets realistic picture of his boat painted on a fence intended to hide it
A speedboat mural is painted on a fence outside the home of Etienne Constable in Seaside, Calif., after the city ordered Constable to conceal his boat.via KSBW

He is yet to have had any contact from the city about the mural — but he said he considers it to be covered by the right to freedom of expression as enshrined in the First Amendment.

“The reaction is extremely more than we ever expected, and we’re both just tickled about it,” Constable said, referring to the stir the image has made on social media, where it has been shared many times.

Panni, who paints images across the Central Coast area, told KSBW: “I’m a big proponent of public art in spaces. It engages people in ways that reaching out and having conversations doesn’t sometimes.”

And Panni added that since the Seaside boat mural has gone viral, other boat owners have approached him to see whether he can do the same for them.