River Hawkins

River Hawkins currently lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he runs an amazing Restaurant specializing in Veracruz, Mexican cuisine (and of course cocktails!), The Bebedero.

Hawkins, originally from California, experiments with multiple art mediums – from Pen & Ink to Airbrush, to Watercolor to Acrylics.  His works are always unique and the subject matter is not shy.  River’s surreal/urban art works sometimes showcase the grotesque and he doesn’t steer clear of controversy, but that’s why we like him.  His detail is extraordinary and often when you look closely you will find hidden images in his work.  He also authors a comic strip “The Lowdown” which can be found on his website.

His exhibition, “Violence and Grace” features a variety of mediums, methods and subjects.  We look forward to bringing you more of his works (and showcasing some of his other talents) in the future.

“Why not cut yourself?”

If you know me you know my body is scared and burned. This I did to myself, and people are always asking me why. Why would I sit through hours of physical pain while someone tortures and mutilates my body? I usually give them some stupid answer like, “I had nothing better to do that day.” But to be honest I don’t really know. I think it has something to do with how easy everything else feels when I’ve been through hours of physical torture. How all of a sudden, my other worries don’t seem so bad.

Life is all about experience, and once you’ve experienced some intense physical pain, every other pain seems insignificant. And if I can survive being tortured I’m reminded that no pain lasts forever, but that’s not all. The torture reminds me that no one can really hurt me. You can take away my money. You can take away my home. You can take away all of my greatest achievements and at the core I will still be all right, because I’ve been tortured and I’ve kept good company with that pain, but it was still not without its qualities. So, I think, “If this suffering is endurable, then all suffering must be.”

People say I’m crazy for the things I do to myself. They say I’m a masochist, and maybe I am, but I think only for lack of a better word. I don’t enjoy pain. I just appreciate it. To me, pain is just another experience the body can have in life. They want extreme pleasure but they fear extreme pain. I think they’re crazy for spending their whole life avoiding a whole side of the spectrum of experience. I say rejoice in the sufferings of life. Keep good company with your pain. That’s the way to overcome it.

Most people hide from their pain. I celebrate it. I’m grateful for it. If I can enjoy suffering, then what can anyone do to me? I offer you my head. Cut it off.

-river hawkins


River Hawkins - Violence & Grace - 3D
River Hawkins - Violence & Grace
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River Hawkins - Violence & Grace
River Hawkins - "Theo's Secret" - In Depth
Museum In-Depth Series Episode 5: River Hawkins - "Theo's Secret"
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River’s works were initially featured in  TOROSIETE Magazine, March 2017.

River’s installation work and murals were featured in an article about his restaurant, The Bebedero, in  TOROSIETE Magazine, February 2018.

Available Works

Shop for Originals, and Limited Edition Signed Fine Art Prints of River’s works in the TOROSIETE Museum Store.