David Choe Net Worth 2024, Biography, Career, and More

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David Choe Net Worth
Net Worth$300 Million
Date of BirthApril 21, 1976
Age47 years old
Place of BirthLos Angeles California, U.S.
GenderMale
ProfessionPainter
AwardsXeric Grant
NationalityUnited States of America

What is David Choe’s Net Worth?

David Choe, a versatile American artist with a net worth of $300 million, has made significant contributions to the realms of painting, graffiti art, graphic novels, and murals. His distinctive figure paintings and iconic representation of the bucktoothed whale have solidified his presence in the graffiti world.

Multifaceted Career

Choe’s artistic journey extends beyond traditional canvases. He has left his mark on publications such as “Hustler,” “Vice,” and “Ray Gun.” Additionally, his collaborative efforts include co-hosting the “DVDASA” podcast alongside adult film star Asa Akira.

Literary Contributions

The artist has showcased his creativity in written form with published works like “Slow Jams” (1999), “Bruised Fruit: The Art of David Choe” (2002), “Cursiv” (2003), and “David Choe” (2020). His life and artistry were also documented in the 2008 film “Dirty Hands: The Art and Crimes of David Choe.”

Media Appearances

David Choe’s influence extends to the screen, where he has made appearances on notable shows such as “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” (2013), “Vice” (2014), “Better Things” (2019), and “The Mandalorian” (2021). This diverse exposure further showcases the breadth of his impact across various artistic and entertainment platforms.

Strategic Collaboration with Facebook

Early 2000s: A Fateful Encounter

In the early 2000s, David Choe’s graffiti prowess captured the attention of Sean Parker, the President of Facebook at the time. Recognizing Choe’s talent, Parker enlisted him to adorn the walls of Facebook’s Silicon Valley headquarters.

Negotiating a Unique Compensation

When the discussion turned to compensation, Choe, in a bold move, proposed a fee of $60,000. Instead of a conventional payout, Sean Parker, in consultation with CEO Mark Zuckerberg, suggested an alternative – Choe could receive his payment in the form of company stock, a decision that would prove exceptionally astute.

The Power of Equity

Although the exact number of Facebook shares Choe received remains undisclosed, it is known that his equity reached a staggering value of around $200 million during Facebook’s initial public offering (IPO). While the specific size of his stake is not reported by the company, the exponential growth of Facebook’s stock post-IPO suggests that Choe’s holdings could have surged to an impressive $300-500 million at various points.

This strategic financial move by Choe not only showcases his artistic impact but also underscores the financial acumen that turned a graffiti artist’s work into a multimillion-dollar investment.

Early Life and Artistic Beginnings

Birth and Upbringing

Born on April 21, 1976, in Los Angeles, California, David Choe’s roots trace back to the vibrant city. Growing up in the Koreatown area, he was raised by Korean immigrant parents who embraced the faith of born-again Christianity.

Artistic Influences in Youth

In his formative years, Choe discovered his artistic inclination by drawing iconic images from “Star Wars” and “G.I. Joe.” The spark that ignited his passion for visual expression emerged in 1990 when he delved into the world of graffiti, inspired by the work of local artists Hex and Mear One in Los Angeles.

Life-Altering Events

The trajectory of Choe’s life took a significant turn during the 1992 L.A. riots. Following the burning down of his parents’ real estate business, he made the unconventional decision to drop out of high school. Undeterred, he embarked on an extraordinary journey, hitchhiking across America, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East for two years.

Educational Pursuits

At the age of 21, Choe returned to California, seeking a formal education in the arts. He enrolled at the California College of the Arts, although his academic journey was marked by its brevity. After two years, he chose to depart from formal education, opting to pursue his unique path in the world of art and self-expression.

David Choe’s Diverse Art Career

Prison Stint and Artistic Resurgence

David Choe’s foray into graffiti art faced a hiccup with a week-long prison stint. Undeterred, he pivoted to a new chapter, moving in with his parents and channeling his creative energy into writing and illustrating for various magazines, including the esteemed “Vice.”

Adventures Documented: “Thumbs Up!” and Hitchhiking Tales

The “Vice” web series “Thumbs Up!” (2007–2010) thrust Choe into the spotlight. Alongside his best friend Harry Kim, they documented their unconventional journey, hitchhiking and train-hopping across the U.S. and hitchhiking across China.

Art Finds a Home: Double Rainbow and Giant Robot

Facing limited interest from traditional art galleries, Choe found an unexpected venue for his work – the Melrose Avenue ice cream shop, Double Rainbow. Customer admiration led to a two-year exhibition. Simultaneously, his involvement with the pop culture store and magazine “Giant Robot” deepened.

Graphic Novel Success: “Slow Jams” and Xeric Grant

Choe’s venture into graphic novels proved fruitful with “Slow Jams.” Originally distributed at Comic-Con in 1998, a grant of $5,000 from the Xeric Foundation enabled the self-publishing of an expanded edition in 1999. The novel’s popularity soared, fetching significant prices on eBay.

Cinematic Exploration: “Dirty Hands” Documentary

The intimate documentation of Choe’s life by Harry Kim culminated in the 2008 documentary “Dirty Hands: The Art and Crimes of David Choe.” This film provided a profound insight into the artist’s complex persona and the unconventional paths he navigated.

Global Solo Exhibitions: A Trailblazer in Art

Choe’s artistic trajectory expanded globally. From solo exhibitions in San Francisco and San Jose to breakthrough showcases in New York, London, and Mexico City, his work resonated on an international scale. Notable exhibitions include “Gardeners of Eden” (2007) and “Murderous Heart” (2008).

Diverse Creative Endeavors: “The Choe Show” and Beyond

In 2017, the exclusive exhibit “The Choe Show” unfolded in Koreatown. Beyond the canvas, Choe’s influence extended to album cover design, such as Jay-Z and Linkin Park’s “Collision Course” EP (2004). He also showcased his vocal talent by voicing the lead character in the 2007 animated film “We Are The Strange.” David Choe’s artistic odyssey continues to captivate and redefine the boundaries of contemporary art.

Personal Life

Philanthropic Ventures: Charitable Engagements

Beyond his artistic endeavors, David Choe has actively participated in philanthropy, supporting causes like Wyclef Jean’s Yle Haiti and contributing his skills to painting sessions with at-risk children through The LIDÈ Haiti Foundation, initiated by “The Office” star Rainn Wilson and his wife, author Holiday Reinhorn.

Cultural Misunderstanding and Creative Resilience

In the early 2000s, a language barrier led to a regrettable incident in Tokyo, resulting in Choe spending three months in prison. Despite the adversity, Choe channeled his creativity by producing over 600 drawings with the solitary pen allowed in his cell. Notably, he also created unconventional art using tea, soy sauce, blood, and urine. Following his release, he faced deportation and a ban from returning to the country.

Controversial Remarks and Artistic Backlash

In 2014, Choe faced controversy after making unsettling comments on his podcast about his behavior towards a masseuse, later claiming it to be a work of fiction. This led to criticism and raised concerns about the normalization of inappropriate behavior.

Artistic Commission and Public Outcry: Bowery Mural Wall Incident

In 2017, the commissioning of David Choe to paint the Bowery Mural Wall stirred controversy, triggering protests from several artists. Jasmine Wahi, an advocate against rape culture, organized a performance in front of the mural, aiming to challenge the normalization of such behavior. Choe, in response, issued an apology, acknowledging the gravity of his past comments and emphasizing the importance of not trivializing serious issues.

Acknowledgment and Apology: A Pledge for Change

David Choe publicly apologized for any harm caused by his past words, expressing remorse for his insensitive remarks. He unequivocally disavowed non-consensual acts, affirming that such actions are never appropriate or humorous. Choe’s commitment to change and understanding is a testament to the complexities of personal growth within the public eye.

Real Estate Moves

Investment in Luxury Living

In 2010, David Choe made a significant real estate investment by purchasing a lavish 6,500-square-foot mansion in the upscale Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. The acquisition reflected both his success as an artist and his desire for luxurious living.

Strategic Listing in 2022

Fast forward to September 2022, Choe decided to list this expansive residence for sale, setting the asking price at a notable $6.9 million. This strategic move suggested a potentially substantial return on investment, marking a pivotal moment in Choe’s real estate portfolio.

Choe’s real estate endeavors, like his artistic ventures, underscore his dynamic approach to life and finance. The listing of his Los Feliz mansion stands as a testament to his ability to navigate and capitalize on opportunities in various domains.


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As a professional blogger and passionate educator, I am driven by a deep-seated desire to share knowledge and empower others. With years of experience in the field, I am committed to providing valuable insights and guidance to aspiring learners. My passion lies in helping individuals discover their potential and achieve their goals. I am also a firm believer in the power of motivation and strive to inspire others to pursue their dreams with unwavering determination.

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