Alec Monopoly: How One Young Graffiti Artist Represents a New Age of Fine Art
Alec Monopoly has, without a doubt, taken the world of art by storm. Originally from New York City Monopoly has had independent shows in London, Mykonos, Manhattan, and most notably Art Basel in Miami. His already sizable body of work is highly recognizable with his signature graffiti-style cast of characters taking center stage.
Over the last three years, Alec Monopoly’s art has massively increased in popularity, especially amongst the younger generation of art investors. In these years, his art has seen an exponential increase in value, as the art market is on the cusp of a significant change. There is now a growing interest in street art and graffiti art, particularly art that portrays American culture and comments on modern societal values.
The digitization of art commerce is booming, and with it, millennials are emerging as new viable art collectors. Millennials are now leading the way in online art purchases, pushing both the primary and secondary markets, changing the face of the entire global market. Now a hugely fundamental sector of the global art market it is predicted that online art market sales will reach $9.32 billion by 2024. (Hiscox, 2018).
The digitization of art commerce is disheartening to some as it now takes away the step of seeing the artwork in person. The eureka moment when you find a work that you connect with is not always within reach when viewing the artwork exclusively on a screen. Nevertheless, over 71% of art collectors have purchased art online, and this number is continuously on the rise.
Credible art dealers, galleries, and museums are already pushing their online sales as well, through both their professional websites as well as other online platforms such as Artsy and Artnet. These platforms are fantastic resources where the buyer can find all sorts of information about purchasing art as well as finding well-established dealers and artists from whom to buy.
Artnet Worldwide Corporation, the operators of Artnet.com, is an international research and trader platform for fine art specifically geared towards galleries and museums to sell from their collections.
Artnet does not only perform as a platform for art dealers and buyers but also operates an international database containing information pertaining to auctions dating back to 1985. Artnet engages in all aspects of the art market providing services such as Artnet Auctions, Artnet Price Database, and Artnet Analytics. Artnet also has journalists that review works, write relevant articles, and exciting news pertinent to the world of fine art.
Representing over 320,000 artists from around the world, Artnet is one of the leading online platforms for buying and selling art. Of this substantial grouping of artists 14,778 international artists, living and dead, were recently ranked by the number of inquiries ranging from 2016 to 2019.
This report is particularly exciting as it allows us as art investors insight into what genres are trending, which artists are receiving international attention, and from which artists we can expect to see financial appreciation. Many of the artists in this report are already established in the global art scene and are on the rise. However, only the first 35 are worth noting as potentially lucrative investments as these are the only artists on the list that have received over 1,000 inquiries over the last three years.
Of these 35 artists, Alec Monopoly stands out as being by far the youngest (the only artist born since 1980 in the top 100 artists ranked) as well he is in the fourth position, receiving over 4,000 inquiries between 2016 – 2019! The number of inquiries drops exponentially as the list descends, meaning that Alec Monopoly is one of the most highly sought after artists in the last few years.
Monopoly’s particular commentary on wealth and prosperity is one that represents modern societal values within the American culture. Socio-political content is prevalent in his colorful paintings and sculptures. Always original, Monopoly creates his art using a variety of materials including spray paints, luxury handbags, bonds, varnishes & newspaper clippings.
With Banksy, KAWS, and Warhol taking the remaining top ranks this report offers a window into where contemporary art is headed. Warhol, KAWS, Banksy, and Monopoly are all symbols of popular culture. Each of them a celebrity persona with famous clientele and massive international followings. Their public personas play a huge role in exposing their art and turning the artists themselves into a brand aligned with what their artworks portray.
While playfully exposing controversies in our collective social culture, using characters such as Scrooge McDuck and Rich Uncle Pennybags, Monopoly uses his platform to convey this social commentary. After hand-painting his signature Rich Uncle Pennybags onto a Hermes Birkin Bag belonging to Khloe Kardashian, Monopoly has seen a rise in popularity. Since then he has created original works of art for Miley Cyrus, Seth Rogan, Snoop Dog, and more. He has developed a massive following on social media with over 1M followers on Instagram.
Alec Monopoly himself is synonymous with the characters he paints. His top hat, gold chains, and piles of hundred dollar bills are often portrayed in his Instagram feed. He forces his art and Instagram audiences to consider consumerism, corporate greed, and capitalist values. Like his predecessor Warhol, Monopoly a symbol of the times, publicizing his own image while highlighting American popular culture.
Now considered one of the leading artists in normalizing graffiti as an art genre, alongside KAWS and Banksy, Monopoly is quickly becoming a household name. His works are collected by famous actors and musicians who, along with the artist himself, personify the luxury lifestyle that his art depicts. For the last five years, Monopoly has been trending on Artnetand social media alongside notables like Keith Haring and Joan Miró proving that street art year after year is without a doubt in vogue as can be seen via Artnet.
Artnet News, just one aspect of the ever-encompassing platform, allows art patrons and collectors insights to new and old artists, unique collections, and notable events. Artnet also keeps a database on the buyers, containing information on the number of inquiries. Along with what they have bought and the number of works they have bought. This information is important for the gallery, as it gives them an idea as to whether the buyer is serious or not. On the flip side, these platforms also see if inquiries are being answered. The price of every sale is documented in the art world bank. Meaning that there is now a database of what an artist and their artworks base price is, which is essential information when works by said artist go up at auction.
The information that Artnet collects and shares is indispensable when it comes to art investment. Purchasing art can be a complicated process because the art market is incredibly dynamic, but using resources like Artnet will help you to stay well informed. Buy art that you like, but also buy art that has considerable potential to yield value over time.