Miami Art Basel
Originally from New York City, Alec Monopoly’s graffiti art can be seen in urban environments across the world, including New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Europe, Mexico and Asia. Growing up in New York City with a classically trained painter as a mother, Monopoly considers himself a lifelong artist. Eschewing formal training for his pursuit of creating street art, Monopoly has established himself as one of the foremost artists of this genre. His unique style takes a lighthearted approach, rather than the typical grim slant of street art, differentiating him from his contemporaries and giving his art a relateable quality.
Who is the Real Alec Monopoly?
Alec Monopoly has taken the art world by storm. His long gold chains are difficult to miss and his top hat mirrors the mustached Monopoly man that he’s become commonly associated with. The mask that hides his face on the other hand, although may seem like another signature piece, has more of a practical function. When he takes to the streets to turn cities into exhibitions, Alec’s face is covered in order to protect his anonymity. However, vulnerability is what Monopoly signed up for and he’s well aware of that fact. What many don’t know is that Alec Monopoly didn’t create his own pseudonym. With increased popularity comes increased speculation and what started out as an attempt at hidden identity became a stage name. Alec Monopoly was born.
When it comes to revealing his true identity, Alec treats it almost as a game. He encourages his audience to decipher what he stands for by taking a look at his extensive collection of paintings, sculptures and statues that are on display worldwide. No matter the canvas that Alec Monopoly chooses, his animated style comments on issues facing society’s broken economic system whilst forcing his audience to consider capitalism, consumerism, and corporate greed without stopping for a second to apologize for it.
The Birth of The Artist
Alec inherited the name ‘Alec Monopoly’ from the transaction-based board game, where players engage in buying and selling properties whilst trying to bankrupt their opponents. The first chapter of his story came about during the financial crisis of 2008 where he chose to depict Bernie Madoff, the face of financial collapse, capitalist materialism and billion dollar bailouts as Rich “Uncle” Pennybags. It was when Alec first started creating murals of Rich “Uncle” Pennybags, that he received a call from Todd Cohen, a real estate mogul in New York City who commissioned ten paintings on the spot. According to Alec Monopoly, that was the phone call that catapulted his career. Over time, what Rich “Uncle” Pennybags grew to represent has shifted to illustrate the artist himself. On many an occasion, Alec has commented that now, Mr Monopoly represents the drive to achieve and the fact that for himself, success is always the end goal.
Now, using varied materials (including stencils, spray paint, epoxies, varnishes and newspaper clippings from the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal,) Monopoly subversively depicts various icons of pop culture using cartoon illustrations as his own political commentary, and in the process has generated his own recognizable style of pop art. In more recent years, Monopoly has used the fashion industry in order to create an interesting narrative surrounding current trends in his quest to appeal the masses, not just street art fans. He now creates his signature murals on some of the most celebrated accessories of our time, including handbags by brands such as Goyard, Hermes and Louis Vuitton and in turn, has made his art accessible to a wider, more mainstream audience. Now, Alec Monopoly has a vast range of pieces for sale across the globe and his canvases, sculptures and Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Goyard bags are available to buy at all ten of the Eden Fine Art galleries.
Lifestyle of the Rich and the Famous
In 2016, Swiss watch company TAG Heuer announced a collaboration with Monopoly at Miami Art Basel, naming him the company’s “art provocateur.” He created a mural, live on the red carpet for the 2013 film, “BELIEVE,” about Justin Bieber. Monopoly’s work has been purchased by Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, Snoop Dogg, Seth Rogen, Adrien Brody and Iggy Azalea, among other renowned collectors. What’s more, he has been commissioned for high-profile projects with The W Hotel, Vitamin Water, and CoverGirl. His most recent project was the opening of a gallery dedicated exclusively to exhibiting his works in honor of 2018’s Art Basel Week in Miami. In cooperation with Eden Fine Art, Monopoly revealed a new and exclusive collection of paintings and sculptures, attracting art connoisseurs from across the globe. In true Monopoly style, he decided to surprise fans with a live performance where he spray painted the Bugatti, one of this year’s most sought-after sports cars.
Today, Alec Monopoly’s contemporary artworks sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars and as his popularity soars, so does the asking price of his exclusive pieces. Monopoly prides himself on the fact that all his works are original art pieces and the fact that every single one of them is created in his modest studio in LA adds to the raw authenticity behind all that he does. Although he highlights tension surrounding the financial success of street artists since the fall of capitalism, art collectors worldwide are still drawn to Monopoly’s contemporary style, rife with provocative socio-political content and the notion that art lives forever. This combined with the fact that each of his original art pieces tell a story of their own, means that for art collectors worldwide, purchasing prints just isn’t an option.
It’s true that a lot of commentary surrounding modern art refers to telling a story. Monopoly goes above and beyond this in his works by creating a new language that represents American collective consciousness and running with it. Unlike other street artists, Monopoly’s range of surfaces is broad. He has conquered canvases, sculptures, handbags by Goyard, Hermes, Louis Vuitton and the Bugatti. So, what’s next? We’ll just have to see what Alec throws at us…