Notorious B.I.G. Mural In Brooklyn Stirs Controversy, Artist Wants Credit

By Allen Starbury  |  12/22/2011

John Garcia posing in front of the piece he designedMore than a decade after his passing, the Notorious B.I.G. is still making an impact on people, especially in the New York borough he came up in.

The late rapper is at the center of a little controversy over a mural piece of the legendary hip-hop figure at a Brooklyn restaurant called Habana Outpost.

Sean Meenan, owner of the solar-powered restaurant, commissioned a mural of Biggie that re-painted over a previous piece of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara, complete with the restaurant's "H" logo in place of the red star on the guerilla's cap.

However, the mural doesn't credit who designed the mash-up -- 21-year-old Parsons: The New School for Design student John Garcia. And, he isn't happy about it.

"It's frustrating, because I literally laid out everything on the wall. They didn't mention me [on the wall of the mural] and they said in the future in they would," Garcia told The Brooklyn Paper.

The mural actually only credits Meenan's website, But the graffiti artists such as Cern One and Lee Quinones actually painted the artwork and their names appear nowhere on it.

While Meenan feels nothing was done wrong, Garcia wants what he negotiated when the piece was commissioned ... credit.

"One of the founding things when I negotiated it was that my name was on the wall, and I would have liked it to be there," he said. "It's my work and I'd like it to be treated as such."

Graff artist Quinones, however, believes Garcia shouldn't be given the spotlight at all. "The names that should be on the wall are the ones who painted it -- myself and Cern," he stated.

If you're in Brooklyn, and would like to see the piece in person, it's located at S. Portland and Fulton streets.