Alec Monopoly: TAG Heuer’s New ‘Art Provocateur’

18 Jan 2017 | TAG Heuer Alec Monopoly Monopoly Art Art Street

A few years ago, I worked along Melrose Ave. in Hollywood. Melrose is known for its funky vibe and vintage stores. Although now the west section of the street is turning into a bustling luxury fashion hotspot.

Often, when I would walk to lunch or do some shopping I would run into a giant mural of the “Monopoly Man” on the side of a brick storefront. The first impression is delight, as this character, a successful Manhattan real estate tycoon, is the icon of the popular board game Monopoly.

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You’ll find this Monopoly character in various spots around Los Angeles. The way he is portrayed is often irreverent and sometimes acts as a subversive takedown of the pitfalls of excessive capitalism (at least that’s how I see it.)

This reinterpretation of a classic pop icon is the work of Alec Monopoly: an anonymous graffiti and mixed-media artist based out of Los Angeles but originally from New York. A quick Google search reveals that this anonymous artist might be in actuality named Alexander Andon. But like artist Banksy, he obscures his face.

TAG Heuer - Alec Monopoly

In Alec Monopoly’s case his disguise is a type of gas mask sometimes used by street artists to protect them from overexposure to paint and sometimes a bandana. The disguise serves a dual purpose: many street artists obscure their face because technically street art is illegal.

In an interview (Alec Monopoly has been profiled in numerous publications) he talked about how he likes to put up art on abandoned buildings rather than federal property or stores that might not appreciate it.

TAG Heuer - Alec Monopoly

The reputation of street art has changed as many of the artists have moved from obscurity to fame. Alec Monopoly is one of these underground artists-turned-collected creator with celebrities snapping up his art and commissions and collaborations pouring in.

TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver in front of his painting

TAG Heuer - Alec Monopoly

His reputation as a provocateur, both visually and socially captured the attention of TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver. Biver has long been on a mission to bring new watch buyers into the TAG Heuer fold by reaching out to musicians, actors, sports figures and social figures at a dizzying pace.

TAG Heuer - Alec Monopoly and TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver

Biver, appearing with the masked Monopoly, made the announcement at Miami’s most recent Art Basel, in late November that the artist will be the resident “Art Provocateur” for TAG Heuer. Beyond a brand ambassador, his artistic vision will shape TAG Heuer products, events, marketing and communication efforts.

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Ads featuring the incognito artist already appear for the brand and it will be exciting to see what the collaboration brings to fruition. I’m sure whatever comes of it will be “money.” 

By Christine Terrisse. Christine is a contributing writer for The Time Place Magazine

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