Deathdays aren’t usually cause for celebration, but in the case of Christopher Wallace– better known as Biggie Smalls– it only makes sense to organize an art show dedicated to the late rapper around the afterlife. Without it, 20 Big Years would have denied the necromancy that runs throughout the life work of Notorious B.I.G. (his mere two studio albums are a clear sign that his life was cut too short), and that has come to define his persona after death. Even if all these ghosts still give his fans the willies. As one visitor, pointing to an altered version of Barron Claiborne’s famous photo of Biggie wearing a crown, said to her friend: “That one with the skull–it’s so morbid, but so deep.” (The friend agreed.)
Michael Spitz (aka Mr. Throwback) tells us it all started when Brooklyn-based writer and multimedia artist Moth de la Cruz came into his vintage toy and clothing shop on East Ninth Street and showed off a hybrid action figure he had made for his son, using the body of a Venom figure and the head of a Kid Robot-esque bear. Spitz encouraged him to turn the mash-ups into a business and now, under the name Mixxedchampions, De la Cruz sells figurines of Cocaine Fiends and the like.