Street artist Alec Monopoly reaches into the collective childhood memory to build a witty social commentary on our times.
MR Monopoly, you are something of an international man of mystery are you not? What’s your story?
There is always mystery surrounding street art, it adds to the allure of it. I love travelling and checking out different scenes and cultures, not only does it influence and inspire me but it also gives me the opportunity to get up wherever I’m at.
Get Up? Is that street artist lingo?
Getting up or tagging or bombing … Just hitting the streets and painting.
Why the secrecy over your identity? Are you a wanted man?
Depends which country we’re talking about. Better safe than sorry, right?
Does your mother know you are Alec Monopoly?
She knows that I inherited my love for painting from her.
We love your work. It’s exciting, vibrant and now. What’s the big message?
Each painting and image I use has a different emotional and artistic meaning to me. I think art executed properly allows the viewer to find their own message that speaks directly to them. As a whole, materialism, excess and greed continue to be a major underlying theme in my works, but it really changes from one day to the next depending how I feel.
What are your influences, artistically?
My mother. Obviously artists like Warhol and Basquiat have a big influence in my work as well, I generally find myself using a bright and energetic color palette and drawing from big, powerful iconic imagery and characters.
What are your favourite tools of the trade?
Cans and cans and cans of spray paint. Wheat paste, ladders and a bandana to cover my face!
What’s the difference between street art and graffiti?
Nothing and everything.
What’s the most instantly visible venue you’ve ever, erm, decorated?
199 Bowery in NYC for EMM Group was a big look for me since it was right in the heart of NoLita, and of course The W Bali Murals!
Are there any outstanding warrants for your arrest?
No clue. I hope not.
Did you start out doing street art, or is it something you grew into?
Back at the height of the financial crisis and right around the time Bernie Madoff was going down, I was surrounded by so much economic despair and news of hardship that I wanted to find a way to channel that through my art. The iconic Monopoly Man characters became an extension of that emotion for me, and I started tagging them anywhere and everywhere I could. From that it’s grown and the different Monopoly Men characters I create, continue to reflect my moods, interests and interactions at any given point.
Can you spray paint our MacBook if I bring it along to W’s second anniversary party?
Maybe … if you promise not to sell it on eBay.
Alec, thanks for your time.