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  Howie Green Interviews

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Interview with Howie Green (aka The Biggie Painter)
by Mick Boogie


A few years ago, when we did the original Biggie: Unbelievable mixtape, I came across an amazing painting online which the painter (Howie Green) let us use as the cover. Honestly, in all my years as a deejay, I've never had a cover get as much exposure as the music itself... and this project was definitely neck and neck.

Since we reissued/remixed the project this week in honor of Biggie's movie... I thought it would be cool to sit down for 5 min with the man who made this amazing piece of art.

Ladies and gentlemen... Howie Green.

What made you decide to paint such someone like Biggie?

I was looking for some rap and hip hop album covers I could paint for my ongoing series of album cover paintings and I found some very cool photos of Biggie that we're not the usual rap image of baggie pants and clunky jewelry. He was a big man but he had the kind of class and style in his dress and presentation that I see in the old blues guys and Hollywood folks from the 1930s and 40s. Very iconic and very unique in a world populated by hip hop artists dressed like clowns. I had to paint him because he was just so cool looking.

Were you familiar with his music before you painted the portrait?

No I have to admit I was not familiar with his recordings. I certainly knew who he was but when I started listening to him I became an instant fan. I even got one of the Biggie action figures for the studio.

Were you aware your colorful style tied in perfectly to Biggie's love of Coogi sweaters?

That was the thing that clinched it for me. I saw a few photos of Biggie in those sweaters and I thought how perfect they matched my painting style.

Do you plan on seeing the Biggie movie in theaters?

Yea, it looks great. I'm looking forward to seeing it. I might do a painting of the poster for the film. I did a couple movie poster paintings last year for a producer and they went over well.

What would you like our readers to know about Howie Green?

I love all kinds of music. I grew up in the 1960s when there were only a few radio stations and they played the kind of music mix that you never hear on radio anymore. I loved hearing the Beatles, Frank Sinatra, The Stones, Joan Baez, Peggy Lee, Jefferson Airplane and just everybody all on the same station. To me it's sad that music is so demographically chopped and served up. I'm still looking for a station that would play Biggie and Coldplay and Beyonce and The Stones and Bessie Smith and the Sex Pistols and Billie Holiday and Billy Idol and whoever. Just mix it up. Its just music... it ain't gonna hurt nobody.

Thanks Howie... check him out online www.hgd.com/gallery.

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