Facebook’s Graffiti Artist: Life Unchanged by $200 Million
(LOS ANGELES) — David Choe, the 35-year-old muralist who is expected to be worth an estimated $200 million after the Facebook IPO, is bothered by the hype surrounding his newfound money.
“You can’t buy your privacy back,” Choe told ABC’s Barbara Walters. “Because I was already doing OK, and to have this abstract amount of money now, I cannot buy my privacy back. I was like: What the hell’s happening? Every news– Al Jazeera, every news organization in the world is beating down the door, trying to get a, you know, interview. And I’m like, ‘Oh, my God.'”
Although he considers himself homeless, living in casinos and hotels, Choe is a well-known artist whose works are featured in private collections and museums.
[ Watch Barbara Walters’ interview with Choe on ABC’s Nightline Thursday at 11:35 p.m./10:35 CT. ]
“It’s gonna sound horrible for me to say money is meaningless,” he said. “But everyone’s like: What are you gonna do now, now that you have all this money and freedom? I did everything I wanted to when I had nothing. Everyone’s like: Well, what are you gonna do now? I’m like, I’m still gonna do whatever I want except more people are just gonna bother me now.”
Facebook, a start-up social networking site started by Mark Zuckerberg in his Harvard dorm room, has grown to be one of the world’s highest valued Internet companies. In 2005, Sean Parker, president of Facebook at the time, approached Choe with a proposition. He asked Choe to paint his famous murals on the office walls for $60,000, or company stock.
Choe chose the stock — an interesting choice, since Choe once called Facebook “ridiculous.” That “ridiculous” idea sprouted a social media powerhouse, which announced this month its IPO — or initial public offerings of stock. Analysts say Facebook is expected to net the company as much as $10 billion when the stock can be sold this spring, meaning Choe made an estimated $200 million, at least on paper.
As for his murals? They’re still in Facebook offices today — though some were cut from the walls and moved to the social network’s offices around the world, Choe told Walters.
For more information on David Choe’s work and movie, go to http://dirtyhandsmovie.com/
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio