Don't Be Negative

mixed media on wood

19.5 x 23 inches


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Jesse Hazelip uses animal subjects in his imagery to explore themes of injustices within our legal system and underlying corruption in the prison industrial complex. The bull with butcher markings emphasizes the systemized labor practices and division of value. The wolf relates to a pack mentality created through incarceration sub-cultures, as individual prisoners align with hierarchical groups or gangs for protection and survival. The vulture, as a predator who preys on the disadvantaged, symbolizes the prison system as a whole.

He was born in 1977 in Cortez, Colorado amidst Navajo and Ute Nation territory. At the age of 13, Hazelip relocated to Santa Barbara, CA—a vastly different environment from that of his childhood. There, he became involved with graffiti. This led to him developing an aesthetic and technique that is woven into his artwork alongside the imagery and history of his native southwest. In 2007, he received a BFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. He is currently based in Portland, Oregon.