“Alec Monopoly” is the alias of an unidentified (yet curiously available) graffiti artist. Originally from New York, Monopoly moved to Los Angeles in 2006 as he found access to billboards and other suitable media readily available. He is considered the voice of the Los Angeles graffiti scene.
Monopoly is best known for his work portraying the tuxedo-, top hat- and monocle-wearing banker from the Monopoly game, and was originally inspired by the life of investor fraud Bernie Madoff. Other famous “rich” cartoon characters also populate his art, including Scrooge McDuck, Richie Rich, and “The Simpsons” Montgomery Burns.
While graffiti continues to be inferred as a crime, in his feature in Juxtapoz Magazine, Monopoly discussed his best efforts to avoid the vandalism aspect of the street art world:
“I stay away from mailboxes, highways, freeways, and basically any federal and government property. I like warehouses and abandoned buildings. For example I would never hit a coffee shop like the one we’re in: they [the owners] are trying to make it just like I am. I try to be as positive as I can about what I put out there and I try to do it with imagery everyone can identify with. Most people walking by my stuff are not graffiti people or art people, so figuring out a way that everyone can identify with my work is important.”
Monopoly’s works have graced billboards and abandoned buildings to be sure, but his works on wood, canvas and other materials have made it into the mainstream art world and command high prices.
In fact, far from being considered a criminal, Monopoly is paid very, very well for his art. His original “fine art of street art” work commands anywhere from $1,500 to $500,000, so the guy is doing OK. Prints of his work can be found online for significantly less.
In 2013, in a clever marketing ploy, Monopoly sold one of his original paintings for $3 million – in Monopoly money. While the original idea was to “deconstruct symbols of wealth”, in order to collect $3 million in Monopoly money, a buyer had to purchase about $2000 worth of Monopoly games.
Monopoly has also painted for Justin Bieber and graffiti-d a Rolls Royce for Adrian Brody. One Manhattan hedge-fund manager even commissioned Monopoly to create an homage to Patrick Bateman of “American Psycho” in his bedroom. The 4-by-5 foot piece cost $25,000.
I just hope he didn’t obsess too much about the font selection.