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18-year-old Sydney art student, Hannah Clarke, doesn’t expect her lecturers to understand the unique connection she holds with the late Christopher George Latore Wallace, a Brooklyn-based US rapper that died roughly twelve months before she was born.
She says she’s been into ‘Biggie’ ever since she heard the “Notorious B.I.G. & The XX – Dead Wrong Remix” on Youtube during a high school house party in Sydney’s affluent Lavender Bay three years ago.
“When the movie came out, I was basically the only girl in my circle that knew his music. I preferred Biggie over Tupac”
After deciding against studying finance/business, Hannah decided to play up on her role as the ‘arty friend’ in her all girls school social circle – she says after three months studying both theory and practice at a famous Sydney art school, she has already painted eight portraits of Biggie Smalls.
Her most recent portrait has blown away all of her family and friends that aren’t associated with her art college.
“The lecturers don’t get it because they don’t know hip hop”
“They’d much prefer me to paint a landscape or something actually related to our curriculum, but I just want to be honest with it”
“I know they won’t ever understand. But this was us. Biggie Smalls was a soundtrack to life on the North Shore line”
With her lecturers begging her to channel her energy and artistic promise into something more related to the early subjects of her degree, Hannah says she’s in half a mind to showcase her work in a self-run exhibition in one of the shopfronts of her father’s investment properties in Cremorne.
“I don’t necessarily think I need to do things the old way. I don’t even think I’ll be finishing my degree if I keep getting such harsh criticism like I am now” she says.
“I’ve got 1000 followers on my official artist Instagram. My work speaks for itself, I’ve even pulled back on the bikini shots”
“Plus I’m getting heaps of commissions from my friend’s parents and other people from the golf club”