artnet Asks: Alec Monopoly

What does the enigmatic artist have up his sleeve for Art Basel Miami?

Alec Monopoly
Alec Monopoly Photo: courtesy of the artist.

“Alec Monopoly” is the alias of an unidentified graffiti artist. Originally from New York, he works in the urban environments of New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and European and Asian cities. With his cult following, he has collaborated on events with The W Hotel, Vitamin Water, Avicii, and CoverGirl. Monopoly makes a point to avoid vandalism as an aspect of his art—favoring abandoned buildings and warehouses in lieu of painting on government properties or businesses. His use of the board game mascot Mr. Monopoly (inspired by the stockbroker Bernie Madoff) is a poignant criticism of the bailouts of, and regulations surrounding, mega banks. artnet News caught up with the enigmatic artist via email to get the scoop on his start as an artist and his plans for the swiftly approaching Art Basel Miami.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
My mom always painted when I was growing up, so I learned from her at a very young age.

Alec Monopoly, Graffiti Scene Photo: courtesy of the artist and Avant Gallery.

Alec Monopoly, Graffiti Scene
Photo courtesy of the artist and Avant Gallery.

What inspires you?
Hanging off a 50-foot billboard with a can of spray paint in my hand.

Alec Monopoly, DJ Monopoly (2013) Acrylic on newspaper with a resin finish 48 x 36 in. Photo: courtesy of the artist and Guy Hepner.

Alec Monopoly, DJ Monopoly (2013)
Acrylic on newspaper with a resin finish, 48 x 36 in.
Photo courtesy of the artist and Guy Hepner.

If you could own any work of modern or contemporary art, what would it be?
I’ve always been a huge fan of Haring, Basquiat, and Warhol, but I also love the process of some of the more contemporary emerging artists like Michael Staniak, and the iPad works Michael Manning is creating.

Alec Monopoly, Hulk (2013) Acrylic on linen with a Resin Finish 36 x 48 in. Photo: courtesy of the artist and Guy Hepner.

Alec Monopoly, Hulk (2013)
Acrylic on linen with a resin finish, 36 x 48 in.
Photo courtesy of the artist and Guy Hepner.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m heading to Asia in October to do several installations, then I’ll switch my focus to Art Basel Miami, where I’m doing another big exhibit. There’s also a big brand deal in the works I can’t wait to announce for 2015.

When not making art, what do you like to do?
I’m always making art!


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