Monopoly Man: Interview with Street Artist Alec

Monopoly Man, Street Art by Alec

Monopoly Man, Street Art by Alec

Economic crashes, healthcare in crisis and a world where helplessness feels like your only companion. These forces seap into our conversations, occupy minds and invade our way of life day after day. How does one react? How does one respond?

Respond With Art.

Street Art Alec reaches deep into our childhoods and take the most iconic figure of power and money, the monopoly guy, and re appropriates it into a effective and witty social commentary that something has “going terribly wrong”. He brilliantly uses the adorned character to create a visual statement from everything from health care to the economy.

The monopoly motif has gone through certain iterations, even dramatically morphing into a Picasso top hat like wearing character. He transforms the character into a art baron filled in colors, rather than one of money only in black and white. Again I watch art transforming reality to surface our potential.

Alec continues his work with a dramatic turn with his Jack Nicholson, Los Angeles Icon, posters. But again it is portraits in power and how one can turn power into artistic legend rather than the pit of scorn. How will you use your power?

Where are you from?

I grew up in New York which was great. Its’s given me so much in terms of art and culture. Being 23 years old I grew up under the influences of guys like SACE [Dash Snow] who were notorious in NYC.

What are four words that best describe you?


Ambitious, Focused, Creative, Versatile.

How did you get into street art? What is it that attracted you to the 
form?

Growing up in NYC I was immensely influence by graffiti 
in the streets. It wasn’t until later in grade school that I started writing my name in public places. Art for me is so much realer in the streets.

You have managed to re purpose the Monopoly character for raising 
awareness from issues ranging from health care to our economy.

Monopoly Man Stencil, Street Art by Alec

Monopoly Man Stencil, Street Art by Alec

Could 
you tell me a little more about the series?

I started painting monopoly men right after the economy tanked. Seeing how many families were greatly affected by this, really pushed me to express myself through the character. I see Mr Monopoly as an icon of Capitalism and provocative when used as a narrator to immoral investors such as Bernie Madoff.

With the popularity of artists like Banksy and Shepard Faire,
street art’s popularity is on the rise, how do you feel about this?

I think its great! People are paying more attention to street 
art. These guys really paved the way for younger new artists 
like myself. I worry that a lot of people are getting into it now for 
the wrong reasons.

Jack Nicholson, Street Art by Alec

Jack Nicholson, Street Art by Alec

Tell me the significance of your Jack Nicholson Posters and your 
choice of him as a subject?

I try to make my art work as approachable as possible.
Using recognizable popular images helps people in the streets
connect with the art. Jack is a true icon and a legend here in LA.
His flamboyance and versatility as an actor
make him conducive to using vibrant colors.
I love expressing myself with colors and splatters.

I have seen you paste in some pretty brave locations in Bellaire 
neighborhood, not your typical locations to find work like yours. Is 
there importance in choosing the area in which you post your work?

I try to bomb areas where people will really enjoy it and take it in. Unlikely places such as Bellair and Beverly Hills really makes the imagery stick out and catches people off guard.


What is most important to you as an artist in regards to what you 
would like to accomplish?

I just want to reach as many people as I can wether it be in the 
streets, a gallery, or a museum. It’s important to express 
myself in an eye catching manor bringing art into people’s everyday lives where 
it normally wouldn’t be, making it an interesting surprise.

How would you like to be remembered?

I’d like to be a great artist and someone that inspires and influences the next generations when I’m gone. Leaving my mark not only in the streets but in history as well.

You can find more of Alec’s work at http://alecartshow.com/

Monopoly Man Stencil, Street Art by Alec

Monopoly Man Stencil, Street Art by Alec

Monopoly Man, Art by Alec

Monopoly Man, Art by Alec

Monopoly Man, Street Art by Alec

Monopoly Man, Street Art by Alec

Monopoly Man Feet Stencil, Street Art by Alec

Monopoly Man Feet Stencil, Street Art by Alec

Health Care, Street Art by Alec

Health Care, Street Art by Alec

Monopoly Man, Street Art by Alec

Monopoly Man, Street Art by Alec

Monopoly Millionaire - Street Art by Alec

Art by Alec

Jack Nicholson, Street Art by Alec

Jack Nicholson, Street Art by Alec

Street Art by Alec

Street Art by Alec

Jack Nicholson, Street Art by Alec, Shark by Mark White

Jack Nicholson, Street Art by Alec, Shark by Mark White

Rifle Shoot Flowers, Street Art by Alec

Rifle Shoot Flowers, Street Art by Alec


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Comments (33)

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  1. Nina Layman says:

    Very colorful and provocative imagery. Like the texture of the stenciled birds. Good work!

  2. Chris Tankerson says:

    I have seen the Alec pieces scattered through out LA and find them very intriguing and a great social commentary. Keep up the good work and stay safe!

  3. Ardalan says:

    The guy is a complete poser trying to copy Banksy. What a joke, he is no artist!

  4. Pablo Perez says:

    Ardalan….I would have to disagree with you. Yes he is a street artist, but that is where the Bansky comparison’s end…not really sure where your coming from

  5. Pissedpeople says:

    Caroline
    9 mos, 4 wks ago
    I saw a really cool monopoly guy on the street the other day. It was signed alec by it and I came to find out the artists full name is [removed] check his work out. The piece i saw was this cool monopoly guy holding a clock. Kinda symbolic to whats going on in our world rt now huh?

    hv
    9 mos, 4 wks ago
    Thanks Caroline, I already saw them. I took a photo of one in Boston a few weeks back & posted it here on my hyperallergic Tumblog.

    arlis
    8 mos, 2 wks ago
    yea hes a really good street artist i heard hes from NY Ive seen similar monopoly graffiti in Miami and the Hamptons

    sven vanoksovich
    7 mos ago
    ive seen lots of his pieces around he is a pretty talented kid..kinda reminds of a more subtle Banksy

    hv
    6 mos, 4 wks ago
    Sven, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Please elaborate.

    Nina
    6 mos, 2 wks ago
    Alec has some amazing art, not just the graphitti…

    st
    1 mo, 2 wks ago
    Alec sucks. Are you kidding you fucking yuppies

    hv
    1 mo, 1 wk ago
    Take your personal beefs elsewhere.

    brooke
    1 wk, 3 days ago
    the artist alec is a complete poser who is nothing but a spoiled rich kid from westhampton with way too much free time. he is no artist.

    robone
    5 days, 4 hrs ago
    Alec, Free Humanity and Leba all deserve to be beaten the sh!t our of. They are not very good at what they do and have pissed off a lot of other graffiti writers and wheat pasters here in LA. They have the balls to go over Obey, Sharktoof, and other guys with real street cred.

    Nothing original about this toy or his buddies. A lot of the street artists here in LA are looking to beat their heads in. Trust me, it ain’t going to be pretty when they get caught. Even pedestrians here are painting over their vomit.

    brooke
    4 days, 23 hrs ago
    I could not agree more. There are so many talented artists in LA that deserved recognition, this guy is just a trendy poser.

    robone
    4 days, 21 hrs ago
    It’s beyond poser.

    They have no creative identity. A monopoly man? How cliche’ can you get? A picture of Tupac with the words Free Humanity? C’mon man…where did these guys get their ideas from? A freakin coloring book?

    Do you know how many of Alec’s pieces are just simply bad design? All of them. Let’s not even get into Free Humanity, whose work is just straight junk. It’s an eyesore. For God’s sake, learn some contrast, study some symmetry and have some idea of what design is before you hit the streets. Have a real message not something you threw together simply to gain fame. Lame.

    These guys could have made a huge splash with the amount of hours they put into hitting the streets. Instead, they release crap. Meaningless junk that pollutes the streets. What’s worse is the amount of people tearing down their “art” on Melrose.

    The streets of LA have run some the most prolific urban artists…Seizer, Bandit, Crypttic, Restitution Press, SharkToof, Obey, Nomade and many others. Let’s not even mention the awesome graf work put in by AWR, CBS, and many others.

    IS this what LA street art has become? A bunch of hacks who cant even draw a straight line or even know the street rules?

    Lame….really effin lame. LIke I said before…these guys are all wanted now by real street artists who don’t take kindly to kids effin up their pieces. PERIOD.

    Guess these days if you have alot of time on your hands and

  6. Pablo Perez says:

    I am unsure of the point you are trying to make by copying paste comments from another blog…I would like to understand your point of view so that we can have a conversation about street art in a respectable way. I think having different opinions is healthy and would like to think that this is a place in which we can discuss them.

  7. happy people says:

    sounds like someone is mad, go cry in a corner hahaha, what a baby, there’s no end to haters out there, frustrated they get no attention because they do the same lame thing over and over and over and over, you’ve probably been posting the same lame poster for 10yrs,

  8. Liam Rea says:

    damn sounds like some got their feeling s hurt.

    i actually happen to know all these street artist that u mention
    and all of them have mutual respect for each other.

    so it more sounds like your are upset about something personal so your argument comes off very lack luster and biased .

    so please elaborate with out the bias and the anger and some one might understand what you are trying to say.

    Instead you come off very ignorant and violent

  9. JuJu says:

    Alec is RAAAAAAAAD. His colors brighten my mind and spirit every time I see an Alec piece.

    Pissed people do you mean Taggers are pissed? Is that why the taggers pissed on the wall by Zip?

    It’s the streets boys and girls have fun, keep on walking or driving past street art.

    And Obey needs to do something new, my eyes, MY eyes are tired of the all that red….ugh, now when I see an Obey peace, I have to try to look at it, it’s the same old same old, it’s iconic now, it’s historic now, a little change might be risky I understand but common I’m yawin!

    xo…lotsa kisses boys

    PS.Leba rocks, love his American Apparel misogynist pieces and his hand painted what’s that pop girls name? Gaga and his Lincolns, and on & on.

    also if these boys pissed anyone off, good for them! and bad for you, I mean really you’re upset over some paper and drawings to spew hatred like this?!

    and who stays within the lines? definitely not free humanity.

    xxx

  10. Pablo Perez says:

    There has to be something said for the fact his work is inspiring so much conversation

  11. JuJu says:

    Alec is my favorite……My mom was pointing out Alec pieces in Boston joyfully!

    Alec brings Joy.

    Now that’s inspiring!

  12. bear says:

    alecs work is dope, he is running LA’s streets right now. his monopoly man is a character that anyone and everyone can relate too, and his bob dylan and jack are colorful and bright and are always something great to see and point out wherever you are. And p.s. i dont know how anyone could say that his work relateable to banksy at all, aside from being a street artist, his style is completely different.

  13. Pablo Perez says:

    Everyone is coming out of the woodwork to support Alec…awesome!

  14. XVALA says:

    Alec, Free Humanity and Leba are everywhere. They are making great graffiti art. People who don’t like Alec or graffiti are people who think the beauty of life is getting your hair cut every two weeks and watching your neighbor fall off the roof.

    Monopoly man – one of the best metaphors for street art ever.

  15. Pablo Perez says:

    Hey XVALA….are you the one that did the Less is more posters and the Bansky Monkey pun?

  16. XVALA says:

    Yes. Very impressed with your coverage and support of street art.

  17. Pablo says:

    Thanks XVALA glad you like it and appreciate your comments. If your on facebook..stop buy http://www.facebook.com/thedirtfloor

  18. spence says:

    Come on people! there is nothing artistic about drawing poorly formed celebrities and using the monopoly symbol around town. Anyone could do that, how about alec having an original idea of his own which I doubt he has.

  19. Pablo Perez says:

    Hey Spence….I noticed your posting as different people. Comments like these are easy from the veil of anonymity. I think constructive criticism can be healthy and would love have you reveal who you really are so that we can have a real conversation

  20. papaslam says:

    I met Alec today on the street painting a mural. I had no idea who he was, but
    was taken by the art and the approach – when I saw a can on the ground I asked
    him if he had thrown the piece up freehand and he came down off his ladder to chat.
    I asked him his name and he said “Alec”, when I asked him his last name, he told
    me he was known as Monopoly. I asked if there was anything ‘around town’ I would
    recognize and he said “Jack”. I immediately knew who he was and felt like I was
    in the presence of a modern day rock star (since they are all but gone). His
    approachability and positive attitude were refreshing as is his work ethic.
    The guy is young and on his way up, establishing his identity and refining
    his craft. Give him time and I suspect he will emerge as an artist with a
    unique and powerful point of view. Even the Beatles first album was mostly cover songs….

  21. papaslam says:

    Oh yeah – Just found the Dirt Floor and am very impressed by the thoroughness
    of your coverage of LA street art. Thank you!

    Check out this site from Norway http://www.nuart09.blogspot.com

    Should I grab a pic and submit if I see anything interesting? (not that
    you miss much that’s for sure!)

    Best,

    Papaslam

  22. Pablo Perez says:

    Always interested in pics Papaslam..thanks for your kind words! Were also on facebook if your interested http://www.facebook.com/thedirtfloor

  23. Alec is the man. Also pretty sure he is cool with Obey. I have a pic of some scribble that says “To Shep, Alec”

    There is definitely a mutual respect between the two. Both artists works can be found at the Cobrashop (Hollywood and Highland) Pretty sure if Obey wanted to SMASH Alec’s head in, The Cobrasnake could set it, up seeing as he’s friends with both these guys.

  24. selfmademan says:

    You jealous hater’s that put him down in your comments are home on your fat ass doin nothing but wishing you could have a dream or make a difference in the world. art is in the EYE of the beholder… you just holdin your mouse!

  25. frank says:

    This dude is a straight lame. No respect. Everyone and anyone that really gets it knows this kid sucks. Besides that this pussy wants to start problems realize he cant handle them and emails people he doesnt know to squash it?!?!?! psshhh…. this is Los Angeles thats how you get your face kicked in. Alec Andon is a rich lil NY kid who needs to take the time to learn some fuckin respect.

  26. Spin says:

    Only discovered Alec Monopoly recently at the “Graffik” show in London. A big fan of his work, bought DJ Monopoly almost as soon as I saw it. Look forward to seeing more of your work in London.
    -DS

  27. Suspence says:

    FRANK- it’s obvious that you’re a part of that SHITTY street art crew “deth kills”… The same guys who called the NYPD Vandal Squad to Alec’s NYC art show and spend all your time buffing his pieces. (EVERYONE knows it was you!) You guys are the biggest assholes of street art. Besides your work being a complete JOKE, and no one knowing who you guys are, maybe if you lames spent more time getting up and creating some original art, instead of sitting around on the computer ALL DAY talking shit on every and any art blog that features Alec Monopoly’s work, then your art wouldn’t SUCK so much and people would have some respect for you and your craft!!! You talk shit about Alec emailing you guys to squash the beef that you started, simply based on that fact that you’re jealous of him… Yet you guys called the cops on him! That violates all ethics of “street art”. Jealous motherf*ckers!!! Here’s some advice- get a life (first and foremost), and start concentrating on YOUR work instead of stalking Alec’s life… Then maybe you guys wouldn’t SUCK so much!

    Sincerely,
    Alec’s Number 1 Fan

    BTW- Pablo, huge fan of The Dirt Floor man! Keep up the rad work!

  28. perspective says:

    love all art, props to all that share, love not hate. With that said, Im thinking reality show…. somebody needs to jump on this quick! the world wants to see this work and all the drama involved ! im in Miami and the street art scene is booming and growing with momentum…

  29. Arlis says:

    Banksy just shout to alec monopoly on instagram lol enough said

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