Alec Monopoly, the king of street art, launches his NFT collection: his exclusive interview with Forbes

While the art world has undergone its transformation for more than a year through the Web3.0 universe and the NFT world, we had the opportunity to interview Alec Monopoly, a personality particularly known in the street art world, who opens his art gallery in Dubai and launches its first NFT collection. The opportunity to better understand the dynamics of working in this environment, how this important star became friends with crypto whales and celebrities, and why he decided to launch his NFT collection.

Hi Alec, can you tell us about yourself? How did you become the acclaimed artist you are today?

AM: My name is Alec Monopoly, I’m from New York City and I’m a street artist. I started painting the streets in 2008. It was then the subprime producers’ financial crisis on Wall Street, and I became famous by staging Mister Monopoly, the famous character of the game of the same name. It was what created my reputation and it is 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 doing at the time.

What made your career take off in the US and internationally?

AM: I was arrested by New York police, which resonated in the national media and then in art galleries internationally. Since then, I have not stopped creating around the character Mister Monopoly, and I am now recognized by the international art world. My works are mainly 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, in 2019, where the trend and the NFT phenomenon that we know today did not yet exist. NFT from that time was just one of my designs that were sold to charity


The beginning of the story ofAlec Monopoly therefore begins in 2008, a striking parallel to the beginning of cryptohistory, which at the same time takes its roots: the subprime financial crisis. In the same way that Satoshi Nakamoto in his White Paper on Bitcoin talks about the catastrophe caused by this crisis and the loss of confidence it caused in financial institutions, Alec highlights these events in his works of art in the middle of the streets of New York. And the comparison does not stop there, for 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, just like Banksy I had a scarf to hide my face. I was anonymous for hiding my face and avoiding being spotted by the police when I started on the streets of New York. Today I decided to reveal my face because I am recognized in the art world and I say to myself that there is no longer any reason to remain anonymous. However, it got me in some trouble with the authorities.

Your career started in 2008 and in anonymity we can not resist the temptation to ask you if you are the person hidden behind the pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto”.

AM: I wish I was Satoshi Nakamoto, but no, it’s not me! In fact, I had not even made the connection before our exchange.

How did you become interested in the crypto universe and NFTs?

AM: My art and the topics that I highlight in my works around finance and the character of Mister Monopoly are very meaningful to crypto-investors who recognize themselves in my work. In fact, there are even many “crypto whaleswho collects 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 perform?

AM: I got into NFT very early, in 2019, when the NFT trend and phenomenon that we know today did not yet exist. NFT from that time was just one of my designs that were sold to charity. So in 2020, I made a collaboration with the artist Ozuna. We staged his bear character and the Mister Monopoly character into 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 made with Ozuna will be entitled to exclusive access and benefits for drop.

More information regardingAlec Monopoly

Are you an NFT collector yourself?

AM: Yes absolutely, I am a big collector of NFTs and I value them as works 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 have been using as my profile picture for some time. I like 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 boyfriend! (laughs)

You have become vital to many celebrities. Do your friends follow NFT just like you?

AM: Yeah, a lot of my friends are in NFT too. For my birthday, Logan Paul gave me a World Of Woman. Today, there is a real connection between NFTs and the development of the art world, it is quite fascinating to experience.

I could see you launching 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 let my friends do drops on a trusted platform. However, this project in itself is smaller than the series that I will be announcing soon. I still need to explore the various options for finding 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 becomes 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 goes well with the NFT series.


The NFTs will initially be in 2D, so 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 that I have been working on for a year now. It’s going to be about a new character that I’ve 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. In addition, there will be a male character with Lil Richie, but I have also integrated a female character who is going to 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 actually requires adaptation. The creation is now done on the iPad with an Apple pencil. Although the tools change, the artistic base and ideology remain the same. I myself have created all the elements of the series and surrounded myself with a team that makes it possible to create generative art.

Today, NFTs are a great way to build community. How will you maintain your community with this series?

AM: Unlike many projects that do not keep their promises, I really want to have my community on board, create real benefit for holdersof my works, which will be exclusive works of art in themselves. They will also provide instant access to exclusive events, the first of which will be in Art Basel Miami in December.

Will your NFTs be available in the metaverse?

AM: Yes, the NFTs will initially be in 2D, 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 inspiration for this project, and I would like to convey that to collectors.

Alec, what is the message you want to convey to your fans who are reading 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 give everyone the opportunity to put together one of my works 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. He himself is an NFT collector and member of the crypto universe, and he now combines his two passions to create what promises to be one of the most important NFT series of the year that you will be able to follow on his social network.

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