Levi Hawken (b. 1975, Auckland, New Zealand) began his artistic career as a graffiti artist in Auckland City during the mid 1990s. Although much of his grattiti work is no longer visible, the influences in his more formal paintings remain. In the past eight years his work has taken a turn, from the once public forum of the walls and spaces in our cities, to a more private and formal review of his own style.
The new works embody Levi's concerns with his own artistic demons and a personal backlash against issues encased within the graffiti movement. Conflicted with the nature of street art through the constant personal and public battle, seeing one's art removed, vandalized and challenged from within the graffiti community, and the public as a whole, Levi has made the poignant decision to take back ownership of his works by composing them on canvas, away form the public domain. This shift has made a marked influence in the way Levi now handles his medium and subject matter. His artistic practices include painting, drawing and sculptural work and can now be seen as a keepsake of the art that once was.