TAG Heuer Alec Monopoly leaves his mark at Old Trafford
The Theatre of Dreams acquired a new work of art this week when TAG Heuer’s art provocateur Alec Monopoly painted a giant mural on a wall of the Manchester United stadium.
As you walk around Old Trafford, dodging Asian tourists desperate for photos in front of the entrance, you can spot numerous traces of the club’s illustrious history, from a sombre commemoration of the 1958 Munich Air disaster to the statue of the “United Trinity” of George Best, Denis Law and Sir Bobby Charlton, to a more recent addition – a statue of Sir Alex Ferguson adorning the entrance to the stand named after him. This week, a much less discreet addition was made to the visible memorabilia around the stadium when American graffiti artist Alec Monopoly was given a huge section wall to paint. So huge, in fact, that the cult artist worked over 12 hours on the mural before he was ready for Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of TAG Heuer, and members of the Manchester United first team squad, to help him with the finishing touches.
Paul Pogba, Victor Lindelof, Jesse Lingard, Chris Smalling and captain Michael Carrick all joined in the fun to colour in segments of the football at the centre of mural, which the Monopoly Man character that features heavily in Monopoly’s work is trying to save in front of goal on the bright green turf of Old Trafford. They also “tagged” their own individual shirts and both Pogba and Lingard were so impressed by Alec Monopoly’s work that they asked him to spray paint their all-white Adidas trainers.
The artwork is destined to remain on display at the stadium, at least until the next change of shirt supplier or sponsor. Before the unveiling, I had chance to chat to the artist about his inspiration and his work with TAG Heuer.
How does this mural rank among the many projects you have done?
This is one of the most unique projects I have done, for sure. Not many artists have worked with football clubs and this is the most iconic football club. I’m a big fan of Manchester United. I was jumping for joy when I was first approached for the project.
How did you manage to bring the worlds of TAG Heuer and Manchester United together with your own element of creative expression?
I had fun with it but there were some guidelines that needed to be respected because the work isn’t just for me, it’s for the people and the fans. When I create works I want people to enjoy them and I don’t want to offend anyone or for anything to be misinterpreted. So things like the logos had to be perfect, for example, and the red had to be the right Manchester United red.
Did you have any inspiration while you were actually painting the mural?
I came and saw the match on Sunday and that actually gave me a lot of inspiration.
You’re wearing the latest TAG Heuer Carrera 02 that you have “tagged” but what other TAG Heuer watches do you wear?
I have a Monaco V4 phantom watch which I really like because it is so light and I can paint with it on. Surprisingly, I didn’t think I would be much of a Connected watch guy, but I’ve realised that if I wear it when I’m painting I can look at the dial and see who is texting or calling me [while we spoke, his girlfriend was actually calling him].
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