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The L.A.-based artist Alec Andon, known as Alec Monopoly, got his start by addressing the financial crisis of 2008 in New York through a painting. His first piece depicted Bernie Madoff, who was, he said, “the ultimate symbol of the financial collapse.” The artist’s work has continued to include figures motivated by money, like Richie Rich and his favorite, the inspiration behind his pseudonym, Rich Uncle Pennybags—the iconic Monopoly character from the board game.
In 2015 at Art Basel in Miami Beach, TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver and the artist met. That initial meeting led to Alec Monopoly’s officiation as TAG Heuer’s first-ever “Art Provocateur” just one year later. In September, the artist traveled to Hong Kong to paint the city’s oldest form of land transportation, the tram, as well as host a small exhibition inside TAG Heuer’s boutique. At Art Basel in Miami Beach this year, Alec Monopoly and TAG Heuer will unveil a new art activation, as well as a special Alec Monopoly watch.
WHITEWALLER: When you first met Jean-Claude Biver, how did you know the brand was a company you wanted to work with artistically?
ALEC MONOPOLY: I think the most important thing with creating art is doing something never done before. Blazing a new trail is key to me. It was the first time for TAG Heuer to collaborate with an artist. This relationship is a 360-degree deal. I was drawn to it from the start because it was so new and exciting.
I also have a really broad fan base. Some collectors are old Wall Street guys, and a lot of them are young millennials, which is the exact demographic for TAG Heuer. So I thought it was a perfect fit.
WW: In Hong Kong you painted a tram, as well as the tramway all over Hong Kong Island, in your recognizable spray- paint style. You also had canvas pieces of your work on view at the TAG Heuer concept store in Lan Kwai Fong. How did it feel to reinvigorate a city such as Hong Kong?
AM: It was amazing because it was a nod to subway graffiti in the 1980s— before my time. So it was pretty cool to paint public transportation legally, and ride the tram through Hong Kong, and to see the people’s faces seeing my art riding by. It was an amazing feeling, and I could feel the energy of Hong Kong. Everybody loved it.
I had some of my canvas pieces there. Most of my works start out as graffiti pieces and then are transferred onto canvas. I wanted to give a glimpse into my life and introduce people to my color palette and my signature style.
WW: What do you have going on with the brand during Art Basel in Miami Beach?
AM: We’re doing an amazing event at the Fontainebleau hotel, where I’m going to be doing a huge graffiti mural installation outside. It’s one of the most iconic, visited, and passed by hotels in Miami. So, we’re doing something there, but also at the boutique. We’re going to have some of my signature Alec Monopoly timepieces, which are just being released, for sale. It’s going to be exciting to have people buy the watches after this long wait.
WW: Can you tell me us a bit about the new watch?
AM: The new watch is sort of an entry- level watch. My artwork is inside of it—a sort of self-portrait wearing a bandana with the Swiss flag. It’s embracing the fact that I’m a graffiti artist having a watch produced in Switzerland. It’s a big deal for me. It’s really a dream come true.