Christian Paniagua: Bringing Hip Hop to Life via Visual Art

What’s Important About These Items

The truest music can be seen as well as heard. Christian Paniagua knows this. His art is born of, and fueled by, his roots – being of Dominican descent, born and raised in New York City – as much as his mixing of movement, feeling, and colors. To represent Biz Markie’s character, after hearing the icon’s “Make the Music,” he “wanted to create a piece that exhibited the energy we all loved about Biz.” After seeing David Corio’s images and shot sequence, Christian brought the sound, flow, and vibes to life by loosely drawing “the many faces and diverse energy that symbolize Biz’s music.” To encapsulate the “lyrical genius who, through his words expressed and represented the mental highs and lows of life on the streets,” Christian built his drawing of Rakim on Drew Carolan’s iconic Follow the Leader image. The personification of smooth and disciplined, Rakim wore a suit by Dapper Dan, and Christian drew an image that, with his unique and illustrative style, truly captures The God MC.

Beastie Boys Licensed to Ill tour picture book
Biz Markie by Paniagua
Rakim by Paniagua
Rakim by Paniagua

Why Christian Donated These Items to the UHHM

Christian shared with us how “these two pieces represent the essence of Hip Hop Music and its culture. The style and energy of two of music most unique, influential, and iconic performers made an everlasting impact on generations of listeners.” By giving his work to the UHHM, he could share his voice while giving back to the Official Record of Hip Hop.

In Christian’s Words

“Through my art, I always look to represent the music and the culture that helped mold and raise me. I’m honored to share my voice with and contribute to the museum showcasing the history of the Hip Hop Community.”
– Christian Paniagua

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