Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Hoot! Hailey Has a New Owl Watching Over It
Painting 23 feet high was a little precarious when the wind blew.
Thursday, September 19, 2019


He had to learn to paint within the lines as the scaffolding swayed in the afternoon breeze.

And he had to endure a few raindrops mixed in with the paint.

But, four days after he started, Kevin Fitzpatrick was finished with Hailey’s newest mural—a colorful 15-by-23-foot portrait of a great horned owl with the sun rising over the Bow Bridge, Big Wood River and Carbonate and Della Mountains.

Honk if you love Hoot!

“It made me a little nervous being up here in the wind!” he said.

Fitzpatrick painted the mural for the Hailey Arts & Historic Preservation Commission, copying a design from one of the silkscreen T-shirts he and his wife Gwen have made. He painted the mural on the north side of the wall of Jane’s Artifacts adjacent to Wells Fargo Bank.

He’s created dozens of snazzy art pieces featuring local landmarks on his eight-armed micro-adjustable screen painter since moving here seven years ago.

“I haven’t named the owl yet. But he’s watching out for us,” said Fitzpatrick, who earned a degree in multi-media web design at the Herron School of Art in Indiana.

Kevin Fitzpatrick had to deal with shadows and bright sun.

“Owls are mystical creatures with rich imagery. I hear them calling back forth in the Draper Preserve at night—'Hoo, hoo, hoo.’  Their call reminds us that we are surrounded by the wildlife that inhabit this valley, our connection to mother nature’s creation.”

Daniel Hansen, who heads up Hailey’s Arts & Historic Preservation Commission, said the commission’s hope was to create an instagramable space in the community—"one bridging the old with new that speaks to the creativity and culture of where we live.”

“The design pays homage to nature, preservation and the harmonious progress we continue to make within it,” he said. “The mural location is next to a last-remaining brick wall from the original merchant buildings that once lined Hailey’s Main Street in the 19th Century before fires destroyed them. We hope to draw a new crowd to see this art where they can enjoy it in person and share it with their online communities and learn a little more about our community in the process.”

Fitzpatrick took a screenshot of his original design then projected that shot on the wall the night before he started painting. He then traced the image.

Kevin Fitzpatrick has designed T-shirts for the Northern Rockies Folk Festival and other events.

He arrived the next morning with an armful of orange red, green and blue paint. He then proceeded to paint while his wife and their six-month-old child Maple looked on.

“I tried to save them some money by painting it in two colors. But they wanted lots of bright colors,” he said.

This is Fitzpatrick’s second mural. While living in Portland, Ore., he was commissioned by a radio station to outline a picture that community members could join in in painting. A hundred people took part in painting the mural, which depicted a record with a bunch of people partying, mountains and a train, which alluded to Portland’s heritage as a train town.

Occasionally, Jane Drussel emerged from her shop, where she was stocking the shelves for Halloween, to check the progress of the mural.

The stone is from the original building, which was built in the early 1930s, and known as the Zanzibar, she said. The fire that ravaged the building left the brick scorched.

 “When we bought our building in 1987, it was a hardware store,” she said. “Now it has a pretty mural on it. And I love it!”






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