ΔLΞC MONOPOLY’s “Park Place” exhibition at street art gallery LAB Art is the artist’s first Los Angeles solo show, though his work has been popping on street corners and lamp posts for a while now. ΔLΞC MONOPOLY uses “Monopoly Man,” the board game mascot, as a constant image throughout his street art and paintings. His well-received “Park Place” exhibition showcases over 360 paintings, two full-size automobiles and various graffiti throughout the gallery.
CARTWHEEL recently covered the opening of the show, ΔLΞC MONOPOLY “Park Place” Exhibition at LAB ART Gallery, attended by the artist who is currently in the midst of a world tour with renown Madonna photographer Richard Corman. Their collaboration includes live painting and exhibitions at W Hotels world-wide. While on the road, ΔLΞC MONOPOLY gave CARTWHEEL this interview via email.
What got you started drawing graffiti?
New York. Growing up there, I developed an immediate connection to the work I saw in the streets. It wasn’t too long before I began to find ways to publicly tag my name.
How old were you at the time?
I was in grade school.
Did you worry about being arrested?
I’ve had my moments, but overall, I don’t worry about it too much. It’s a part of the process.
When did you move to Los Angeles? How do you feel this has affected your artistic point of view?
I made the permanent transition to LA around 2009. It’s been a positive experience; allowing me new opportunities, relationships, and of course, new areas to put work up in the streets.
Strangely, Monopoly Man gives a human face to corporate greed even though he’s a cartoon. When did you introduce Monopoly Man to the unsuspecting public?
Shortly after the fall of our economy, I began appropriating the Monopoly Man for the streets; placing him in areas where it would create commentary amongst the people that was most affected by our ailing economy.
Do you consider Monopoly Man evil? Is he a person or a corporation?
I consider the Monopoly man to be a representation of capitalism. How that is interpreted by others, is merely a personal reflection of their own individual experiences, therefore, I see him more as an ‘idea’, rather than a person or a corporation.
Would you consider yourself an activist?
I consider myself an artist. I try not to get too caught up on one-sided approaches with my work. However, I don’t have a problem with supporting a cause if I have the opportunity.
At what point is graffiti considered street art? When is it considered fine art?
To me, it’s all art. I don’t worry about justifying or classifying what I do and that of others. I’ll leave that up to art enthusiasts and critics to create a definition for each. If you ask some people, they’ll say it’s all just vandalism.
Do you think Monopoly Man will ever disappear?
Why do you enjoy your secrecy? Do you feel it gives your work more power?
I don’t necessarily enjoy my secrecy. What I do, for the most part, is still illegal in most places. I don’t know if it gives my work more power. There are two sides to it and right now, I’m only experiencing the one side.
Do you worry that your identity might be revealed, and if so how/if that might impact your work?
I imagine my identity will be revealed someday, but I don’t worry about it. Maintaining to hide my identity has no impact on my work. Who I am as an artist will remain the same, whether if you know who I am or not.
ΔLΞC MONOPOLY “Park Place”
LAB ART Gallery, 217 S. La Brea Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Open Tuesday-Saturday between the hours of 10 AM – 5 PM
All photos courtesy of LAB ART, with the exception of Picasso Hat Lamp Post (top), photograph courtesy of Twiggy.