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Facebook Graffiti Artist David Choe Gets His 15 Minutes and $200 Million Worth of Fame

| February 10, 2012
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By now you’ve heard that graffiti artist David Choe is going to be richer than you’ll ever be, thanks to his amazingly shrewd decision to accept stock in lieu of cash when he did his thing at Facebook HQ in the company’s early days.

From the New York Times:

In 2005, Mr. Choe was invited to paint murals on the walls of Facebook’s first offices in Palo Alto, Calif., by Sean Parker, then Facebook’s president. As pay, Mr. Parker offered Mr. Choe a choice between cash in the “thousands of dollars,” according to several people who know Mr. Choe, or stock then worth about the same.

Mr. Choe, who has said that at the time that he thought the idea of Facebook was “ridiculous and pointless,” nevertheless chose the stock.

And more from yesterday’s LA Times:

Choe became infamous in Silicon Valley for allegedly being commissioned to spray-paint sexual graphics on the walls of Facebook’s first Palo Alto office in 2005 by the company’s founding president, Sean Parker. (If that really happened, though, it has been airbrushed out of the official Facebook history). Choe painted less — ahem — colorful murals for Facebook’s next digs in 2007, this time at the request of Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg. When Facebook outgrew its office and moved again, it carved Choe’s artwork out of the walls and took the pieces to the new place, where they were proudly hung.

Now Choe’s Facebook shares are estimated north of $200 million, and he’s getting more publicity than Banksy. Here he is on Howard Stern, explaining that he went for the Facebook shares over a payment of $60,000.

More from the interview here.

And here’s Choe’s interview with Barbara Walters, in which he complains, “you can’t buy your privacy back. I was already doing okay, and to have this abstract amount of money now, I cannot buy my privacy back….Every news organization in the world is beating down the door, trying to get an interview…”

Thankfully for Choe, then, the end of the media cycle is usually nigh when the Taiwanese animators have gotten a hold of you…

Enjoy this video of Choe interfacing with Mark Zuckerberg as they spray paint Facebook’s new HQ in Menlo Park. At one point, while the Zuck is in the midst of applying a stick figure, Choe says approvingly, ‘you got that s*** down.’

You can see some photos of the original Facebook mural at Choe’s web site.

Update 2:00 p.m. KQED Spark actually has a 2004 segment on Choe from 2004, when he was working in the Bay Area.

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Category: Arts and Culture, Economy, Technology

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  • Anonymous

    Will Daid Choe pay back the citizens who had to pay to cover his scrawl when he was only up and coming? As usual, someone with a long history of criminal acts finds a way to use that to his benefit. Can he at lest say thank you to those citizens and city folks that worked so hard to keep our streets clear of his scrawl, just so he could move on and keep causing vandalism until he was good enough to get paid for it.