Jesse Hazelip was born in 1977 in Cortez, Colorado, amidst Navajo and Ute Nation territory. At the age of 13, he relocated to Santa Barbara, California—a vastly different environment from that of his childhood. There, Hazelip became involved with graffiti, 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, California. He is currently based in New York.
Hazelip uses animal subjects in his imagery to explore themes of injustice 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 subcultures, as individual prisoners align with hierarchical groups or gangs for protection and survival. The vulture, a predator who preys on the disadvantaged, symbolizes the prison system as a whole. The snake refers to the violence created by the penal system that is specific to prison. The skeletal hands represent the death and reach of the violence nurtured within the prison-industrial complex.