MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 30: CEO of TAG Heuer Jean-Claude Biver and Artist Alec Monopoly attend TAG Heuer Announces Their New Art Provocateur! at Art Basel Miami at Mondrian South Beach on November 30, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for TAG Heuer)

CEO of TAG Heuer Jean-Claude Biver and artist Alec Monopoly attend TAG Heuer announcement of their new Art Provocateur at Art Basel Miami at Mondrian South Beach on Nov. 30, 2016, in Miami. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for TAG Heuer)

Sporting a hat, with his face always hidden behind a bandana to preserve his anonymity; but what is he famous for? Well, Alec Monopoly owes his fame to the character who shares his name. Mr. Monopoly, the diminutive and debonair banker that the artist depicts in different scenarios.

“When I started out, I did my graffiti in New York. The city was a huge source of inspiration,” he says in a statement to the press. In 2008, he quit the Big Apple for California. This was the year that the financial markets crashed. The subprime crisis, Wall Street, Bernie Madoff … the financial world experienced its darkest days. And this found its echo in Alec’s work. His career took off. “This was my way of making a statement about what was happening.” His work started to gain an online following among street art aficionados. People started to call him Alec Monopoly.

MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 30: Artist Alec Monopoly attends TAG Heuer Announces Their New Art Provocateur! at Art Basel Miami at Mondrian South Beach on November 30, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for TAG Heuer)

Artist Alec Monopoly attends TAG Heuer’s announcement of their new Art Provocateur at Art Basel Miami at Mondrian South Beach on Nov. 30, 2016, in Miami. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for TAG Heuer)

Since then, he has depicted the little banker in every conceivable situation. His rich, colorful works using this character — known throughout the world — are filled with humor. In the meantime, Alec Monopoly has turned his focus toward recontextualising other icons of popular culture. Scrooge McDuck, Richie Rich. Today, Alec’s signature is worth a lot. Numerous American stars, such as Seth Rogan, Adrien Brody and Robert De Niro, have bought his works.

“Street painting remains my true passion,” Jean-Claude Biver took him at his word.

MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 30: Artist Alec Monopoly displays his art at TAG Heuer Announces Their New Art Provocateur! at Art Basel Miami at Mondrian South Beach on November 30, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for TAG Heuer)

Artist Alec Monopoly displays his art at TAG Heuer’s announcement of their new Art Provocateur at Art Basel Miami at Mondrian South Beach on Nov. 30, 2016, in Miami. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for TAG Heuer)

With success, his relationship with painting has changed. “I was crazy when I was young. I graffitied trains, buildings …” Has time tamed Mr. Monopoly? Not really. “I am still a graffiti addict. I still have this need to quickly graffiti something anytime I get the chance. Street painting remains my true passion.”

So, Jean-Claude Biver took him at his word. A few months ago, in Switzerland, he suggested that Alec became not only the “Art Provocateur” for the watch brand he is CEO of, to imbue it with his creativity — but also to start to express himself in a different way, in the street, by tagging the TAG Heuer boutique located in the very heart of Miami’s Design District, as part of the artistic ambiance of the famous Contemporary Art Week.

“I have always had a passion for watches. I am excited by this great opportunity to put my creative ideas to work for TAG Heuer. This is a perfect opportunity to combine my artistic abilities with my love of timepieces,” said Alec.

MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 30: Artist Alec Monopoly attends TAG Heuer Announces Their New Art Provocateur! at Art Basel Miami at Mondrian South Beach on November 30, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for TAG Heuer)

Artist Alec Monopoly attends TAG Heuer’s announcement of their new Art Provocateur at Art Basel Miami at Mondrian South Beach on Nov. 30, 2016, in Miami. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for TAG Heuer)

Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of TAG Heuer and president of the watch division of the LVMH Group, commented: “To be the first, to be unique and different, has been my philosophy for the last 40 years. With Alec as Art Provocateur within my team at TAG Heuer, I would like not only to continue to reconnect the brand with the younger generation, the millennials but also to pave the way for new areas of expression, in all domains from the products to marketing and communication to distribution. His unconventional creativity and enthusiasm are contagious.”

The next day, Jean-Claude Biver and Alec Monopoly inaugurated the Mondrian Gallery within the lobby of the Mondrian South Beach 5* hotel, unveiling a giant wall graffitied by Alec. This ephemeral art installation, supported by TAG Heuer, is completely unorthodox and, since its inauguration, has become an unmissable stop for contemporary art connoisseurs who have flocked here during this busy week in Miami.

 

Yvette Caslin

I'm a writer, image architect & significance marketer. Love photojournalism, creative expression & originality.