The world was not ready for David Choe. The boy born in South Korea and raised as a latchkey kid in L.A.’s Koreatown had been drawn to drawing before he could really talk, and by the time he could talk, it was clear that he was an artist.
The walls of his bedroom were covered with drawings of monsters and superheroes. In sixth grade, the school sent him to a special class for gifted children; instead of just watching his fellow students draw, he would have to teach them about perspective, about light and shadow. He learned quickly how to identify a teacher’s weakness–in this case, her fondness for “Star Trek”–and exploit it.
By high school, Choe had decided he wanted to be a famous artist. But it wasn’t a realistic goal in Los Angeles County, where the schools were still desegregating after years of court battles. So while friends played basketball and went to parties, Choe sat at home drawing obsessively. He took pieces of paper and folded them until they looked like accordions or fans; he drew faces so detailed they looked like photographs; he drew pictures of himself on fire. The teachers who taught him that all these things were possible now told him none of them
David Choe is an American artist and entrepreneur who is known for his murals, which have been commissioned by Facebook, Google, MySpace and other companies. He earned a spot on the Forbes list of the top 30 entertainers in the world under 30. His artworks are collected by museums and feature in private collections in the US and all over the world. He has appeared as himself in several movies and television shows, including Entourage and Road Trip: Beer Pong. David Choe has also been featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
The first time he saw a live graffiti painting was in 1992 when he was a teenager. It left him mesmerized, so he went to a local community college and took an arts class that had an element of graffiti in it. Then he started to practice writing graffiti using spray cans. After this experience, David decided to dedicate his life to creating artworks using spray paint.
He didn’t attend many formal art classes after high school, but he became more interested in art and started to develop his talents as an artist with immense dedication. He spent almost all day working on graffiti paintings or drawing comics for his own pleasure. Since then, he has been practicing various types of art such as painting, collages and comics.
David Choe is a living, breathing personification of today’s culture. His story is one of triumph.
David Choe was born in Los Angeles, the first child of Korean immigrants. Growing up, he had no interest in school and did not excel at his studies. He was often labeled as a juvenile delinquent.
Ultimately, David turned his life around by discovering his passion for art. This gave him the reason to stay out of trouble.
He worked at a local McDonald’s to pay for an art class at a community college. He worked hard at this class and loved it so much that he dropped out of high school and decided to pursue his dreams of being a professional artist full-time. He realized that the only way to succeed was to keep painting and drawing every day, no matter how much he wanted to quit or slow down.
David’s work can be found all over the world – on canvases in galleries, in magazines, on clothing designs, on album covers and concert posters…and even on the walls of Mark Zuckerberg’s house! His work has also been featured in movies like “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” (2011) as well as television shows like “Entourage” (HBO).
He has made many friends
When he was 13, David Choe was diagnosed with a form of cancer that left him temporarily paralyzed. Luckily, he recovered, but the experience left him with an obsession with mortality that has fueled much of his work. It’s not hard to see why.
“When I turned 25,” he recalled in a recent interview with Vice, “everyone I knew was dying or dead.”
He spent years as a graffiti artist and drug dealer before his paintings started selling at auction for hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece. He has said he never went to art school and doesn’t really consider himself an artist.
As Mr. Choe sees it, his paintings are pure expressions of emotion, often in response to life experiences like the loss of a loved one. His subjects are not just people but also punk rockers, boxers and wrestlers, gangsters, outlaws and other characters from the fringes of society. In recent years he has taken on more colorful subject matter like unicorns, dinosaurs and dragons (he’s particularly fond of painting Asian dragons), but he still gravitates toward subjects that reflect some kind of struggle: two wrestlers grappling; two half-naked women wrestling each other; a man battling a deer on top of a horse; a boxing match between Muhammad
David Choe is one of the most respected and influential artists in the world. He’s also known for his unique, unpredictable personality, and a crazy lifestyle that has taken him all over the globe.
This is David’s story as told by him, in his own words …
David Choe is a Korean American artist and musician. He was born in South Korea but moved to the United States at the age of seven. Choe later attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where he received a degree in painting.
Within his first year of art school, Choe began working as a graffiti artist for many companies like Nike, Microsoft, and Sony. He also started his own clothing line called “Chocolate.” In 2004, Choe released an autobiography titled “Slow Jams” which focused on his early life and time spent as a graffiti artist.
The following year, in 2005, he was involved with the launch of VICE magazine. He is also known for his work on the popular animated series “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” which is aired on Cartoon Network.
In 2007, he released an album titled “It’s Time” with fellow musician and friend Adam Bravin under the duo name The Short Story Long. The album consists of 13 tracks that were put together by Choe himself while keeping to his musical roots and inspirations such as Bob Marley and Bruce Lee.
In the late 1990s, David Choe was a 33-year-old Korean American graffiti writer, with no skills to speak of, no money and few marketable human qualities. He was living in a garage on the outskirts of Los Angeles. His garage had neither running water nor electricity.
The only reason that wasn’t the end of his story is that he was friends with a couple of guys who had a lot of weed. And video cameras.
In 1997, one of these guys, Sean Mortimer, was working for a new company called VICE Media. Every week or so, Mortimer would call Choe and ask him to come over. They’d roll another blunt and spend the evening shooting footage intended for the “Chill Room,” an online component of their magazine that was supposed to feature people just chilling out and doing whatever they wanted.
What Mortimer really wanted was for Choe to go outside his garage and talk about whatever came to mind. Choe rarely obliged; he didn’t think it would be entertaining or informative for anyone else to see him sitting around getting high all day. But he would go along with it every now and then if Mortimer gave him some weed or some money or both.
The result is honestly funnier than