9 Questions for Avery Andon, Alec Monopoly’s Dealer and Manager

The founder and director of online gallery ArtLife talks about his passion for Henry Taylor and his unexpected alternate dream job.

Avery Andon, the founder and director of ArtLife.

Graffiti artist, institutional outsider, and market phenomenon Alec Monopoly has been busy making headlines lately with his polarizing Mr. Monopoly-laden Pop-meet-street creations that the public just can’t seem to get enough of. No matter where you may fall on the love-it or hate-it spectrum, there’s no denying that artist is a pop-culture juggernaut, with over 1 million Instagram followers, celebrity fans, and sky-rocketing prices

But Alec Monopoly didn’t reach this level of cultural stardom on this own. From the very beginning Monopoly has been supported and managed by Avery Andon, the founder of online gallery ArtLife and Monopoly’s brother.

Recently we caught up with Andon, who told us about the artists he’s looking at now, his alternate dream career, and more.

Alec Monopoly, Title Deed Yeouido (2016) Courtesy of ArtLife.

Alec Monopoly, Title Deed: Yeouido (2016) Courtesy of ArtLife.

Tell us about your background in art and what led you here.

I started as a collector, buying local street art in New York City. As the graffiti world exploded I began managing Alec Monopoly. At this point, I’ve managed and developed Alec’s career for over ten years, and he has become one of the most profitable Street artists in the world. I saw a shift in the way collectors were acquiring and selling art, and launched ArtLife in 2017 to offer a trustworthy, secure high-end art experience online.

What is the first artwork that captured your attention?

The first artworks that I truly loved were by Andy Warhol and Basquiat. I would visit the Whitney on the weekends and it’s there that I fell in love with the rich history and background of individual paintings. To me, the story can be just as important as the actual artwork.

Your star client Alec Monopoly is on the receiving end of some harsh words from some art critics. How do you respond to it? 
Alec Monopoly’s art and lifestyle can be very polarizing and bothers some of the high-brow art world. It’s easy to overlook that at only 33 years old,  Alec has already had two solo museum exhibitions, sell out shows across the globe and inspired an entire generation of social media-driven street and Pop artists. Also, unlike many contemporary artists who achieve similar levels of success (I won’t name names)— Alec has never had a huge studio staff cranking out art for him, he continues to personally hand paint all of his original artworks.
Andy Warhol, The Star 258 (1981). Courtesy of ArtLife.

Andy Warhol, The Star 258 (1981). Courtesy of ArtLife.

You also call ArtLife a lifestyle brand. Can you explain this overlap between gallery and lifestyle brand? 

I think that now more than ever, collectors are engaged in the art they collect as part of an identity. Living among amazing art and collecting art truly has become a lifestyle choice—we create tailored experiences for each of our collectors to ensure an exciting and rewarding experience.

If you could own any artwork, what would it be and why?

It would have to be Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Black King Catch Scorpio (1981). I have always loved the pastel color palette and as an avid fisherman, the subject matter of the painting would be perfect for my home. Next time I have $40 million lying around, it will be the first thing I purchase!

What is the most important thing your gallery does to gain exposure?

Nowadays even the online art market is so saturated, we have to differentiate ourselves with three things: curation tailored to our clients; Incredible and personalized customer service; and competitive and investment value pricing.

NYCHOS, Dissection of Elvis (2016). Courtesy of ArtLife.

NYCHOS, Dissection of Elvis (2016). Courtesy of ArtLife.

What has been your most memorable experience in the art world?

We recently sold a collector an Andy Warhol “Liz Taylor” print. Apparently, the client had been patiently saving up for over five years to acquire the screenprint, and he began crying in joy when the work was installed on his wall. It was a powerful reminder of the emotion and human spirit that art can inspire.

What is the best show you’ve seen recently?

I am obsessed with everything that Henry Taylor does as an artist. Also, I was recently introduced to a Spanish artist named Edgar Plans, who I think will have a rapid rise to success with his quirky but thought-provoking characters and quotes. NYCHOS is another artist that I believe has created a unique and immediately recognizable signature style in his art, and one of the most exciting artists that ArtLife currently works with.

If you were not an art dealer, what would you be doing?

I would probably be a charter fisherman on a remote island, soaking up sun and not losing sleep over art shipments and secondary market price fluctuations!

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