While the art world has been undergoing its transformation for more than a year through the Web3.0 universe and the world of NFTs, we had the opportunity to interview Alec Monopoly, personality particularly known in the world of street art, who opens his art gallery in Dubai and launches its first NFT collection. The opportunity to better understand the dynamics at work in this environment, how this essential star made friends with crypto whales and celebrities, and why he decided to launch his NFT collection.
Hello Alec, can you tell us 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 artist. I started street painting in 2008. It was then the financial crisis of the subprimes on Wall Street and I became known by staging Mister Monopoly, the famous character of the game of the same name. It’s what made my reputation and it’s also what gave 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 that time.
What made your career take off in the United States and internationally?
AM: I was arrested by the New York police, which echoed in the national media and then in art galleries internationally. Since that time, I have not stopped creating around the character of Mister Monopoly, and I am now recognized by the international art world. My works are notably exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Bangkok and I am now opening my own gallery in Dubai.
I got into NFT very early on, in 2019, when the trend and the NFT phenomenon that we know today did not yet 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 with the beginning of crypto history which takes its roots at the same time: the subprime financial crisis. In the same way that Satoshi Nakamoto recounts in his white paper on Bitcoin the cataclysm caused by this crisis and the loss of confidence it caused in financial institutions, Alec highlights these events in his works of art in full middle of the streets of New York. And the comparison does not 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 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 some trouble with the authorities.
Career started in 2008 and in anonymity, we cannot resist the temptation to ask you if you are the person hidden behind the pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto”.
AM: I would have liked to be Satoshi Nakamoto, but no, it’s not me! In fact, I hadn’t even made the connection before our exchange.
How did you get interested in the crypto universe and NFTs?
AM: My art and the subjects that I highlight in my works around finance and the character of Mister Monopoly are very meaningful for crypto-investors who recognize themselves in 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 got into NFT very early on, in 2019, when the NFT trend and phenomenon that we know today did not yet 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 was a real success, quickly sold out . Now, I will soon officially announce the launch of a generative art NFT series. Holders of my NFTs made with Ozuna will be entitled to exclusive access and advantages for the drop.
More information aboutAlec Monopoly
Are you an NFT collector yourself?
AM: Yes totally, I’m a big collector of NFTs and I appreciate them as pieces of art in their own right. One of my first NFTs was 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 some time. I like the fact that we are looking 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 to 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. Today there is a real correlation between NFTs and the evolution of the art world, it’s quite fascinating to experience.
I could see that you launched your own NFT platform “Artrail” 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 that I lead to have my own NFT platform and allow my friends to make drops on a trusted platform. However, this project itself is smaller than the series that I will soon announce. I still need to study the different possibilities to find the platform that will be both able to provide the greatest security and able to support the peak of 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 secure 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 will be originally in 2D, then we can convert them to 3D NFTs for use in the metaverse
Can you now tell us more about your NFT series?
AM: The upcoming series is a generative art project 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 that I created called “Lil Richie”. He somehow represents the nephew of Mister Monopoly.
What message do you want to convey with this collection?
AM: I want everyone to be able to recognize themselves in the characters in the collection thanks to the different characteristics that I have integrated. By the way, there will be a male character with Lil Richie, but I also integrated a female character who will look a bit like a new version of Jessica Rabbit.
How did you have to adapt the way you work to create the NFTs?
AM: The work of NFTs requires adaptation, indeed. The creation is now done on iPad with an Apple pencil. Even if the tools change, the artistic base and the 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 community. How do you want to maintain your community with this series?
AM: Unlike many projects that don’t keep their promises, I really want to get my community on board, create real utility for holdersof my pieces which will be exclusive works of art in their own right. They will also allow immediate 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 will be originally in 2D, then we can convert them to 3D NFTs for use in the metaverse. My teams and I are currently working to develop a complete experience in this new universe. The Matrix movie was the main inspiration for this project, and I want to convey that for collectors.
Alec, what is the message you want to convey to your fans who read us and who are eagerly awaiting the launch of the series?
AM: My artwork has always been very dear and inaccessible to most of my fans, and this NFT series will allow everyone to collect one of my pieces and make some of my work their own.
In conclusion, Alec Monopoly is an artist who has been known for more than 10 years now for his works and the universe he has created. Himself an NFT collector and member of the crypto universe, he now combines his two passions to create what is shaping up to be one of the most important NFT-series of the year that you can follow on its social networks.
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Alec Monopoly, the king of street art launches his NFT collection: his exclusive interview for Forbes – Forbes France
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