Fisherman has ingenious solution when officials tell him to hide his boat

Etienne Constable showed a creative display of defiance after receiving a letter to erect a six-foot fence around his prized ‘The Might as Well’

James Liddell
Wednesday 15 May 2024 14:21
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When officials told a fisherman to hide his boat from his driveway, he concocted a cunning solution.

Etienne Constable from Seaside, California, kept his trusty vessel, The Might as Well, harboured on his driveway for the past four years. The keen angler, in his early sixties, could quickly and easily launch his boat near Monterey Bay for his weekly fishing trips.

However, Mr Constable received a letter from local government officials informing him that he would need to conceal his prized vessel with a six-foot fence to obscure its view from neighbours.

Despite some reluctance, he complied. However, Mr Constable had the last laugh after finding a loophole in the notice.

“Six-foot screen was the wording that they used [in the letter], but they never defined screen. My reading of that gave me some creative leeway,” he told The Times.

Mr Constable had a brainwave: “So I figured I would comply but I would just paint my boat on the fence.”

Etienne Constable enlisted the help of local artist Hanif Panni (NBC News)

After erecting the fence last summer, he enlisted the help of local artist Hanif Panni to create a hyperrealistic mural of The Might as Well.

“My neighbour has a sea-faring vessel, which he parks on the side of his home,” Mr Panni wrote on Facebook last week.

“After reluctantly building the fence and driveway, he presented a sassy idea to me that would require my artistic skills,” he added.

The artist spent four days scrupulously painting each detail of the boat and other objects in the background. From the right angle, the painting aligns perfectly with what lies behind the fence.

“A painting of boat in a driveway next to a house on a fence in front of a boat in a driveway next to a house!” Mr Panni summated in the post.

Neighbours and passers-by have been stopping to admire the mural and applaud Mr Constable for his artful response to local code enforcement officers, he said.

Despite the creative display of defiance, the pair were careful that their response met with local legislation.

“I’m a firm believer in creative dissonance and dealing with bureaucracy in a creative way to work around things,” the artist told The Times.

Even Seaside’s police chief, Nick Borges, thanked Mr Constable for being “community-minded” and bringing publicity to the city, he said.

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