Lot 137 - 1994 Mercedes-Benz S 500 'Biggie Smalls Gangster Rapper' by Paul Karslake FRSA

Lot 137 - 1994 Mercedes-Benz S 500 'Biggie Smalls Gangster Rapper' by Paul Karslake FRSA

Lot 137 - 1994 Mercedes-Benz S 500 'Biggie Smalls Gangster Rapper' by Paul Karslake FRSA

Lot Number 137
Registration M25 LYR
Chassis Number WDB1400512A209622
Engine Number TBC
Odometer reading 100,000 miles
Result Sold - £4,760

The Artist: Even before he won his first County Art Prize at the age of eight, Paul Karslake was immersed into the Art World. Paul's father, Mike, was a renowned architectural model maker.  From Mike, Paul was taught business ethics, form and perspective - attributes so lacking in many of today's working artists. Paul travelled to the United States in the late 1970s for what he imagined would be a three week holiday; he ended up staying four years!  Soon after arriving in America, Paul was working for Los Angeles Art Studios, CBS Television and Disney, with whom, years later, he was to work on the Euro Disney Project. In 1990, the Wiggins Group Plc. commissioned Paul to produce a 650 ft. long artwork hoarding for their South Quay site in London Docklands for which he was awarded The Evening Standard Environmental Award.  In the same year, he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (F.R.S.A.). Under the guidance of Derek Johns, ex-Director of Sotheby's and Old Master dealer in St. James's, Paul decided to further strengthen his ties with the Fine Art market.  In 1995, he undertook a commission for some very large still life paintings for the restaurant that became Gordon Ramsay's 'Petrus', in St James's, London.  He followed this in 1998 with a solo exhibition at Derek Johns Ltd., in Duke Street, SW1. Paul's depth of talent is further exemplified when viewing his work on other mediums, including design and artwork for the Virgin F1 racing cars and monumental scale commissions on commercial aircraft, coaches and even the Radio 1 roadshow trucks. His paintings of iconic and popular figures, from the likes of The Rolling Stones, Johnny Depp, Sir Michael Caine and Grace Kelly are hanging in the homes of the famous and infamous and form part of many corporate and private collections in the UK and beyond. Paul is passionate about sharing and explaining his skills and takes an active part in supporting children wishing to do work experience, also tutoring at schools and demonstrating at Art Groups. 

Apart from being a working artist, Paul has always been a life long "petrol head" and has a collection of vintage Lambrettas. In 2012 he bought a Bentley Mulsanne S and covered it in artwork depicting the British Empire to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee; later selling the car at one of our auctions within Mercedes-Benz World. 

The Art: Christopher George Latore Wallace (May 21, 1972 - March 9, 1997), better known by his stage names The Notorious B.I.G., Biggie, or Biggie Smalls was an American rapper. He is consistently ranked as one of the greatest and most influential of all time. On March 9, 1997, an unknown assailant killed Wallace in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. His double-disc album, Life After Death, was released 16 days later, rose to no. 1 on the U.S. album charts and was certified Diamond in 2000; one of the few hip-hop albums to receive this certification. So how did the artwork on this Mercedes-Benz come about? Paul quotes, "I was playing a gig with my band and I saw this car looking forlorn in a corner of a car park. My son said that's the sort of car the gangster rappers used in America in the 1990s. The subject matter seemed perfect so I researched the subject and decided that Biggie Smalls and his rival Tupac were ideal. I managed to buy the car and started the work."

You are advised to take the time to study this fantastic piece of art closely. There are so many details to marvel at but features include Biggie Smalls depicted on the bonnet with Tupac on the boot lid. The black and white image of Tupac is of almost photographic quality. Dollar Bills embellish both sides whilst the stars and stripes flow over the roof. 18-carat gold leaf and Sterling Silver has been used to decorate various areas and Swarovski Crystals are set into the alloy wheels.  The bullet holes are painted with such a deft touch that you want to feel them. Hand airbrushed with brush detailing, this piece of work is truly outstanding.

The Car: This 1994 S500 is in good order; in fact, on a recent test drive, the car drove extremely well. Equipment includes a sunroof, sport mode automatic transmission, aftermarket 19" alloy wheels, grey leather, reversing aerials, front and rear passenger compartment adjustable seats and heating and switchable traction control. Of course, being an S-Class, it has the self-closing doors and double glazed windows making for a very quiet passenger compartment. This UK registered S500 has had a recent set of tyres fitted all around and will have had a service and a fresh MoT test certificate by the time of the sale.  

This imposing motor car; or should we call it a work of art, represents an opportunity to own something unique from an award-winning contemporary artist of whom it could certainly never be said he was lacking in inspiration or self-doubt; indeed his next automotive art subject is already planned. Considering the values that Paul's work commands in the art galleries, this is the perfect chance to acquire an exclusive masterpiece; especially given that it is offered without reserve. 

* Interested parties should note that a full set of professional pictures will follow shortly


Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each Lot prior to the sale. Accordingly, buyers are on notice that each vehicle is offered ‘as is/as seen’ subject to the Terms and Conditions for the auction. All registration numbers, engine and chassis details are sourced from registration documents provided to Historics by the client or representative or HPI checks and buyers are to satisfy themselves as to the accuracy of these details. Buyers are advised to inspect the vehicle in person or use a professional to carry out this service. Historics will not entertain disputes over descriptions.

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