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On June 9th New York street art sensation Alec Monopoly opened his first London exhibition at Graffik Gallery in Notting Hill. Known for his Monopoly Man mascot Rich Uncle Penny Bags, Alec has made a name for himself as one of the most up and coming street artists, with sell out exhibitions now on both sides of the Atlantic.

At his packed London solo show, he presented iconic portraits of Jack Nicholson and Twiggy juxtaposed with his mascot Monopoly man.  The exhibition was tightly presented, with a multitude of impressive pieces. Many of the canvases were coated in archived copies of the Wall Street Journal and sealed with resin, others had a glow in the dark neon effect that was presented in a hallway of black light. Splashes of color were splattered over many of the canvases breaking up the black and white theme he is known for. In the back garden the walls were covered with massive renditions of his Monopoly character mixed with his other favorites.  Guests drank beer and wine in the garden while a DJ spinned in the main exhibition space, which didn’t start thinning out until past 10pm.

“Alec’s’ work translates from an expletive gesture towards the iinvisible bureaucratic juggernaut into a multi-faceted array of Pop culture icons interspersed with financially-apocalyptic newspaper clippings. What separates his efforts from other high-profile graffiti artists who have effectively transitioned into the commercial art sphere (a.k.a. Banksy and Mr. Brainwash) is a deeper attraction to the ‘anti-hero’ personas of Jack Nicholson and Robert De Niro.”

Mr. Monopoly notoriety has become explosive since it was announced he was wanted by the NYPD for utilising the urban landscape in the Big Apple & Cali as his canvas. Arrested on numerous occasions for his street works, he insists on remaining anonymous to avoid arrest.  “This international debut will in fact be the very first time that his show will warrant an appearance by the legend himself as in the last few weeks leading up to this latest New York exhibition, uniformed and plain-clothed police officers made enquiries at the studio and gallery with intent to discover his whereabouts.” It is well known that graffiti artists have been locked up, with their artwork confiscated and destroyed, as to this day it is considered a highly illegal activity, despite it’s high esteem in the contemporary art world, and the value of the works to society.

Stayed tuned for a behind the scenes documentary on Alec Monopoly’s work to be presented in the Voyage Issue of XXXX Magazine out in September, 2011.

Check out the exhibition, which is now open to the public until June 23 at Graffik Gallery.

284 Portobello Road, London W11

In 2010 Graffik Gallery hosted some of the most prominent Urban Art exhibitions in London. Group shows last year included the highest profile urban artists around such as Mau MauDotmastersHushSchoony and many more. The Gallery was also nominated for Best UK Gallery by the Urban Art Awards. The gallery’s legendary “Painting Garden” soon to be “Graff-Tea” is an area where artists can host ‘live’ public painting jams and “spray-offs”. On opening night there will be a live painting session in the garden.

Gallery Opening Times Mon 10 am – Sun 6.30 pm

Indira Cesarine for XXXX Magazine