Why do plein air painters rights supersede property owner’s rights?

Our city, not me, invites plein air painters once a year. I value my privacy and do not want my property painted. Last year asking an artist to stop painting and to please move on almost got me assaulted and I had to call the police who then made them tear up their painting and move on. This year the same person shows up and proceeds to paint the same thing I called the police first this time for I did not wish to be assaulted. The police were no help, they said she was on the leeway and that was public and she was painting nothing more than anyone driving by would see. Someone driving by would not sit outside my home for hours. I asked her to move with the police present and she told me that she was just doing what she loved to do which is what, harass people? that there were things in life we all didn’t like, like loud motorcycles and had to put up with. I told her that as a good person and as a Christian if I felt I was bothering someone I would move on. She then laughed and the policeman told me to leave because he thought I was bothering her. She then spends hours painting my property. For profit I then went to see if I could get the person who runs this pein air event to get her to make the ‘artist’ give me the painting so I could destroy it and the ‘artist’ laughed and told me to ask the police and that I could buy it. That seems a bit like stalking, harassment and blackmail to me. I own the property, she knew she did not have my permission to use it. Why do her rights as an ‘artist’ come before mine as the property owner?

Asked on September 9, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

It's not her rights as an artist per se; it's her rights as a member of a public. Whether it is viewing, photographing, or painting:
1) Any person may be on public land for as long as they like, even if it irritates other people.
2) Anyone may photograph, paint, sketch, sculpt, etc. any inanimate objects or animals/plants they can see from a public area with the sometimes (it depends on the circumstances) exception of things they needed enhancement (e.g. telephoto or night vision lenses) to see. If you can see it with your naked eyes from a public place, you can capture it (photos, painting, etc.).
3) A release would be needed to sell or use commercially an image of a person, because *people* have rights, such as a right to control their own image. However, inanimate objects (like houses, cars), animals, and plants (e.g. your trees, flowers, shrubs) do not have rights, so no persmission is needed.

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