Hitnes painting the Red-winged Blackbird wing on the side of Pickering’s barn. Photo: Jessica Stewart

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Pickering Creek Hosts Italian Muralist Hitnes

Roman painter and muralist, Hitnes, is embarking on an epic three-month journey that will channel the artistic works of ornithologist, painter and explorer, John James Audubon (1785-1851). Inspired by Audubon’s legacy, from late July to late October 2015, Hitnes, The Image Hunter, accompanied by filmmaker Giacomo Agnetti of the Magic Mind Corporation, will travel along Audubon’s1830s exploratory paths to retrace and rediscover the nation that he traversed in the making of his famous book, “The Birds of America.”

A union through time and space, The Image Hunter seeks to answer the fundamental question of what drives a man to dedicate his life to pursue his obsession for hunting bird images. Hitnes is producing a series of public bird murals during brief emergences from the wilderness into modern American urban capitals. Contemporary methods are used to remind people of birds and nature, just like in Audubon's time. The murals demonstrate what has survived and what has been lost, giving birth to an adventure across the United States that combines ornithology, ecology and public art.

Hitnes second stop on the tour was Pickering Creek Audubon Center, Hitnes observed and learned about birds of the Atlantic Flyway while birding at Tilghman Island with Vince DeSanctis and Les Roslund.  After birding Tilghman, Hitnes toured Pickering Creek Audubon Center with Trustee Wayne Bell and Director Mark Scallion, tracking Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Great Blue Heron, Osprey and Eagles.  On the artist’s second day he began work on a grand mural on one of the Center’s barn buildings.  The mural, featuring representations of Red-winged Blackbirds in their habitat, will cover the building expansive south wall.  “We’ve been honored to have Hitnes and his team visit the Center, they are great people and truly talented,” said Center Director Mark Scallion, “it is important and valuable for people to see the many connections between art and nature.”

In contrast to Audubon’s historic journey, contemporary America will reveal a different reality, influencing modern aviary behavior and underscoring species now lost to extinction. By interacting with local ornithologists along the way, Hitnes will immerse himself in the local birding community of each region to decipher the common bonds that drive humans to push themselves in the pursuit of their own quest, and observe their endless obsessions.

The route will cover Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida,

Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and New York with special attention paid to Audubon sanctuaries and chapters. Hitnes will end his tour in New York City, home of the Audubon Mural Project. To follow The Image Hunter’s journey, visit www.audubon.org, where media partner The National Audubon Society will be releasing exclusive video clips and content along the way at audubon.org. Technical sponsor Sherwin-Williams, with more than 4000 stores across North America, will be providing paint for the murals. A docu-film, “The Image Hunter,” is tentatively scheduled for release in Fall 2017. For more information visit www.theimagehunter.org, Instagram and Facebook.

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