for a private consultation
By Eden Gallery,
Posted Nov 26, 2020 ,
In Art Blog, Alec Monopoly, Eden Gallery
Alec Monopoly’s art is dedicated to embodying capitalism in modern society in increasingly creative and unusual ways. A graffiti artist turned celebrity painter, Alec Monopoly is known for his unique, neon interpretation of luxury lifestyles.
Following his dreams of creating public art for the masses, Monopoly has made a name for himself with his vibrant reimaginings of American pop culture icons like Scrooge McDuck and Rich Uncle Pennybags.
It is only in recent years that Monopoly has begun blending art with luxury brands, incorporating well-known fashion labels into his work by turning them into a new kind of canvas. The most famous examples of this are the iconic Alec Monopoly Birkins; his customized, hand-painted Hermès Birkin bags.
The Alec Monopoly Birkin bags are synonymous with wealth, luxury, and exclusivity. However, the legend of how the original Birkin bags were invented involves the serendipitous meeting of Hermès chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas and British actress, Jane Birkin, on a flight from Paris to London in 1983.
Birkin explained to Dumas that it had been difficult to find a leather weekend bag that she really liked, one that was large enough to hold everything she needed.
This inspired Dumas to create the design for the now ubiquitous “Birkin bag” as the high-end answer to a practical women’s handbag.
Today, prices for Birkin bags range from $11,900 to $300,000, according to the type of leather and whether or not exotic skins, such as crocodile or ostric, were used. The bags are distributed to Hermès boutiques on unpredictable schedules and in limited quantities, creating scarcity and exclusivity.
Waiting lists can stretch on for years, but reportedly getting your name on such a list requires either celebrity status or a personal relationship with a sales associate.
It is unclear how Monopoly initially started customizing Birkins, but his reasoning for adding an undeniable level of exclusivity to his already notorious artwork is pretty straightforward.
Of his creative process, Monopoly is quoted as saying, “…painting a Birkin bag is completely different from a painting. It’s such an unusual canvas, the front of it is not flat. It’s kind of controversial that we’re painting on these. Some Birkin fans think it’s sacrilegious, others think it’s amazing, I think it’s super dope because you are taking a super rare, valuable item and adding to its aesthetic and value, and it (becomes) a one of a kind piece of art. The beauty of these bags is they’re all very rare, and when you have…paint on it, it becomes extremely rare.”
The meticulous painting process begins with the delivery of the bags to Monopoly’s studio. “I used to get pretty nervous when I painted these,” Monopoly admits. “You don’t want to ruin a $15,000 dollar bag.” To create a background, the first coat is spray painted in front of a fan, giving the color a snowy, dusted look across the leather. Each layer of spray paint must dry completely, sometimes for several hours, before adding on. Because of the repetitive nature of the painting process, custom painted Birkin bags take weeks to complete.
The same lines must be painted over several times because of the protruding grains of the leather. For the smaller details, Monopoly spray paints a solid outline of color, before carefully painting freehand with a narrow paintbrush.
I used to get pretty nervous when I painted these. You don’t want to ruin a $15,000 dollar bag.
Final touches are added by spray painting his graffiti signature. “There are no mistakes in art”, he says, splattering paint across the Birkin’s remaining bare surfaces.
The finished product is usually valued at somewhere between $60,000-$100,000, making it a luxury item worth more than the price of gold (approximately $60,000 per kilogram).
Collectors of Alec Monopoly Birkin bags include celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Khloe Kardashian. Monopoly famously posted about Khloe’s lime green Birkin emblazoned with a painting of Uncle Pennybags, dollar bills and her nickname, “KloMoney” on his Instagram account.
While Monopoly is upfront about what it takes to create one of his one of a kind works of art (Kardashian’s custom Birkin took more than 3 weeks to complete), the bags make a statement on their own, creating their own brand of publicity as they are flaunted on the arms of the elite.
In this way, the world’s rarest handbag is recreated as a vibrant piece of performance art, elevating its exclusivity, and blurring the line between the worlds of art and fashion.
Explore the entirety of the Alec Monopoly Birkin and art collection exclusively at Eden Gallery.
100x70 cm | 39x27 in
Share with friends
152x183 cm | 59x72 in
125x205 cm | 49x80 in
140x200 cm | 55x78 in
69x40x27 cm | 27x15x10 in
110x110 cm | 43x43 in
90x109 cm | 35x42 in
44x30x17 cm | 17x11x6 in
91x61 cm | 35x24 in
Celebrate Global Beatles Day with Eden Gallery this June 25th. Click here to learn more about the impact that the legendary and iconic band have made on the music industry, as well as the art industry.
Discover Eden Gallery's lineup of exclusive and unforgettable summer events in Mykonos, Greece. Click here to learn about our series of exhibitions from internationally loved contemporary artists.
Discover the importance of music in during our existence and how it directly impacts contemporary artists and the art industry itself. Learn more here.
Father’s Day is a worldwide holiday filled with appreciation, admiration, and celebration for all the men who have embraced the essential role of fatherhood. Click here to explore more ways to show gratitude for our fathers at Eden Gallery.
Created by The North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), Nature Photography Day celebrates all the beauties and wonders our world has to offer. Click here to learn more about Nature Photography.
F&G are an artist duo from France who create works of art–mainly sculptures–that reflect a society obsessed with pop culture and consumerism. Click here to learn more about their art.
As we celebrate exclusive artist Angelo Accardi's birthday, we share our favorite unknown facts about Angelo. Click here to learn more.
Make a difference during Pride Month by contributing to Non Profit Organizations that dedicate their hardship to the LGBTQ+ community in their respective ways. Click here to learn more about how you can help.
This month we celebrate Love winning all. Each year June is dedicated to supporting the LGBTQ+ community, click here to learn more about the history of Pride and why we celebrate it.
Subscribe for Exclusive Updates
Be the first to receive information about new collections, new artists, and event invitations.