As the art world has been undergoing its transformation for over a year through the Web3.0 universe and the world of NFTs, we had the opportunity to interview Alec Monopoly, a personality best known in the world of street art who is opening his art gallery in Dubai and launches its first NFT collection† The chance to better understand the dynamics at work in this environment, how this vital star befriended crypto whales and celebrities, and why he decided to launch his NFT collection.
Hi Alec, can you tell us a bit about yourself? How did you become the recognized artist you are today?
AM: My name is Alec Monopoly, I’m from New York City and I’m a street performer. I started street painting in 2008. It was then the financial crisis of the subprimes on Wall Street and I became known for staging Mister Monopoly, the famous character from the game of the same name. It has made my reputation and it has also given me my nickname in the world of street art. At the time, everyone in New York was focused on this financial crisis, and my art was a reflection of how society was feeling at the time.
What helped your career take off in the United States and internationally?
AM: I was arrested by the New York police, which resonated in the national media and then in international art galleries. Since then I have not stopped creating around the character of Mister Monopoly and I am now recognized by the international art world. In particular, my works are exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Bangkok and I am now opening my own gallery in Dubai.
I was introduced to NFT very early, in 2019, when the trend and NFT phenomenon we know today did not exist. The NFT from that time was just one of my designs that was sold for charity
The beginning of the story ofAlec Monopoly therefore begins in 2008, a striking parallel to the beginning of crypto history that originated at the same time: the subprime financial crisis. In the same way that Satoshi Nakamoto in his Bitcoin white paper recounts the disaster caused by this crisis and the loss of confidence it caused in financial institutions, Alec highlights these events in his artwork in the middle of the streets of New York. And the comparison doesn’t stop there, because Alec has long remained an anonymous character, in the shadow of his works.
Can you explain to us your anonymity and why you changed your mind?
AM: I was anonymous for a long time, like Banksy, I had a scarf to hide my face. I was anonymous to hide my face and avoid detection by the police when I started out on the streets of New York. Today I have decided to reveal my face, because I am recognized in the art world and I tell myself that there is no longer any reason to remain anonymous. However, it got me in trouble with the authorities.
Career started in 2008 and in anonymity we cannot resist the temptation to ask if you are the person behind the pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto”.
AM: I would have loved to be Satoshi Nakamoto, but no, I’m not! In fact, I hadn’t even made the connection before our exchange.
How did you become interested in the crypto universe and NFTs?
AM: My art and the topics I highlight in my works around finance and the character of Mister Monopoly are very meaningful to crypto investors who identify with my work. In fact, there are even many “crypto whaleswho collect my paintings. Again, there are many similarities between the street art world and the crypto world. Anonymity research is a good example.
I saw that you had already done some NFT projects. Can you tell us about the first NFT works you were able to do?
AM: I was introduced to NFT very early, in 2019, when the NFT trend and phenomenon we know today did not exist. The NFT from that time was just one of my designs that was sold for charity. Then in 2020 I did a collaboration with the artist Ozuna. We staged his bear character and the Mister Monopoly character for a collection that quickly became a real success out of stock † Now I will soon officially announce the launch of a generative art NFT series. Holders of my NFTs created with Ozuna are entitled to exclusive access and benefits to the drop.
More information aboutAlec Monopoly
Are you an NFT collector yourself?
AM: Yes, absolutely, I’m a big collector of NFTs and I appreciate them as works of art in their own right. One of my first NFTs came from the collection of Gary V, a well-known entrepreneur in the United States who launched his Veefriends collection. I also have a Meebits that I’ve been using as my profile picture for a while now. I like that we look for NFTs that are representative of our personality and our own characteristics. I even bought an NFT that looked like my girlfriend! (laughs)
You have become essential for many celebrities, do your friends follow NFT like you?
AM: Yes, many of my friends are also in NFT. For my birthday, Logan Paul gave me a World Of Woman. Nowadays there is a real correlation between NFTs and the evolution of the art world, it is quite fascinating to experience.
I saw that you launched your own NFT platform “Artrail” together with your brother. Can you tell us about this project and will your NFT series be based on this platform?
AM: Artrail is a project I lead to have my own NFT platform and let my friends make drops on a trusted platform. However, this project itself is smaller than the series I will be announcing shortly. I have yet to study the various possibilities to find the platform that will be able to both provide the greatest security and support the spike in traffic when the NFTs go on sale. It is very important to me that all these elements are taken into account so that the experience is as smooth and safe as possible. Usually when I start a new project, a new collaboration, the websites have a hard time keeping up. So I want to make sure everything is going well with the NFT series.
The NFTs are originally in 2D, then we can convert them to 3D NFTs for use in the metaverse
Now can you tell us more about your NFT series?
AM: The upcoming series is a generative art project that I’ve been working on for a year now. It will revolve around a new character that I have been developing for five years. It’s a completely original character I created called “Lil Richie”. He somehow represents Mister Monopoly’s cousin.
What message do you want to convey with this collection?
AM: I want everyone to recognize themselves in the characters in the collection thanks to the different features I’ve integrated. By the way, there will be a male character with Lil Richie, but I’ve also integrated a female character that will look a bit like a new version of Jessica Rabbit.
How did you have to adapt your way of working to create the NFTs?
AM: Indeed, the work of NFTs requires adaptation. The creation is now done on iPad with an Apple pencil. Even if the instruments change, the artistic basis and ideology remain the same. I created all the elements of the series myself and surrounded myself with a team that makes it possible to create generative art.
Today, NFTs are a great way to build a community. How would you like to maintain your community with this series?
AM: Unlike a lot of projects that don’t deliver on their promises, I really want to get my community on board, create real utility for holdersof my pieces that will be exclusive works of art in themselves. They also give direct access to exclusive events, the first of which will be at Art Basel Miami in December.
Will your NFTs be available in the metaverse?
AM: Yes, the NFTs are in 2D initially, then we can convert them to 3D NFTs for use in the metaverse. My teams and I are currently working on developing a complete experience in this new universe. The Matrix film was the main source of inspiration for this project and I want to convey that to collectors.
Alec, what is the message you want to convey to your fans who are reading us and eagerly awaiting the series launch?
AM: My artwork has always been very dear and inaccessible to most of my fans, and this NFT series will allow anyone to collect one of my pieces and make some of my work their own.
In short, Alec Monopoly is an artist who has been known for more than 10 years for his works and the universe he has created. An NFT collector himself and a member of the crypto universe, he now combines his two passions to create what promises to be one of the most important NFT series of the year that will have you on your toes. social networks†