I first encountered Jesse Hazelip’s work about 2 years ago on the streets of Berkley, California. There on a side street neighborhood stood a small brick hut, in what must have bakery or some small shop back in the day.
Where plywood covered the old windows, I found Buffalo roaming.
I’d been a fan of street art for some time now, but when I first saw Hazelip’s work – an infamous buffalo of the west with a B-29 bomber head tacked onto it – I was impressed at the artistry of this large scale wheatepaste. This artist was going big, and as time went, on I saw more and more buffalo roaming the streets oakland.
A stampede was imminent.
Months later I was alerted that Hazelip would be having his first solo show at White Walls gallery. Lyrica and I spent the evening going to Green Apple books and having dinner. Around 10pm we arrived at White Walls to a packed gallery. It was clear: People loved Jesse Hazelip’s work, and there were buyers for it too.
A little over a year later Hazelip has gone bigger and his work has become more refined. The newly established 941 Geary Gallery became his playground in early January 2011. The artist filled the space with towering archs and fortelling cranes with anti aircraft guns for heads. In the center of the space was Hazelip’s nod to the war in Afganistan, a car riddled with AK-47 bullet holes.
The artist is known as an outspoken activist in the art world, trying to draw focus on the inequalities of war. He continues to push the topic even further with The Belle of the Brawl, his most recent show.
The opening of Belle was around 7pm – people milled around from piece to piece – and Hazelip, wife Lainya, and son Kingston chatted to friends and family.
Shortly after 8pm though, the earth trembled.
Within minutes, the gallery seemed to be packed. Again, the buffalos had arrived and people were enjoying this new body of work from Jesse. More and more people piled in, pointed, discussed, and enjoyed.
Overall it was a very satisfying show.
To take a look at all the works from the The Belle of the Brawl, and what may still be available for purchase please visit: http://www.941geary.com/shows/belle-of-the-brawl
– Story and Photos by Michael Cuffe for Warholian.com
For more on Jesse Hazelip’s work, please visit his official website at: http://www.JesseHazelip.com