artist spotlight: DAVID CHOE

when you think world famous graffiti artist, the name DAVID CHOE probably doesn’t come to mind.  that’s because CHOE has chosen to fly under the radar and maintain a low key lifestyle despite having amazing artistic talents and widely famous fans.

CHOE grew up in koreatown, los angeles and spent most of his childhood drawing in his room. he first started learning to draw images from starwars, g.i. joe and robotech.  in his teen years, CHOE began getting into trouble after his bike was stolen.  his family did not have a lot of money, so he turned to shoplifting and stealing bikes from others.  at a young age CHOE began painting graffiti himself. he was inspired by l.a. graffiti artists MEAR ONE and HEX and his first graffiti message was a bible verse which read “jesus wept.”  CHOE’s art focused on faces, figures, cartoony animals and philosophical messages.

after dropping out of highschool and spending two years hitchhiking (and stealing) around the world, he returned to l.a. and decided to attend california college of arts & crafts in order to receive training on how to become a “real” artist. CHOE quit college after two years and returned to l.a. where he began illustrating and writing for magazines including hustler, ray gun and vice.

CHOE’s work began appearing in a number of unique places.  he provided the cover art for jay-z and linkin park’s multi platinum album, collision course. he also created artwork to decorate the sets of popular indie films, juno and the glass house.  even more notably, mark zuckerberg, facebook ceo, commissioned CHOE to paint some murals at the facebook headquarters in silicon valley.  CHOE was offered a choice between a cash payment and company stock.  he ended up choosing company stock and his shares are now valued at over $200 million.  finally, during the 2008 presidential race, CHOE painted a portrait of then-senator barack obama for use in a grassroots street art campaign. the original was later displayed in the white house.

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check out DAVID CHOE on instagram and learn more about his interesting life in the documentary entitled, dirty hands: the art and crimes of DAVID CHOE.

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