David Choe, Graffiti Artist, Set To Make $200 Million In Facebook IPO
By: Robin Wilkey
If we have learned anything from this week’s IPO announcement, it’s that it’s good to bet on Facebook.
Since the company announced its decision to go public on Wednesday, Facebook employees and early investors must be bouncing off the walls over staggering reported earnings. (Mark Zuckerberg’s reported pull? $28.4 billion with a B.) But our favorite member of the Facebook IPO instant millionaire club is undoubtedly San Jose graffiti artist David Choe.
Expressing brilliant foresight, Choe reportedly opted for stock options instead of payment in 2005 for covering the walls of Facebook headquarters with spray-painted murals. (Check out the video below of Zuckerberg spray-painting stick figures with Choe.) According to his website, Choe has since been homeless, “wandering the earth, making good art and bad music.” The sum the art-school dropout stands to make come May: a cool $200 million.
On his blog, Choe expressed his excitement and disbelief over the news:
“F*ck, have you had the dream where you ARE this guy?!? And then some kind of happy accident happens, and as you’re in the middle of this glorious car crash you stop to realize that there is actually no such thing as an accident, and no chance encounters, and that everything has a direct purpose? […] then I get up and see my picture on the cover of the New York Times and I find out that I’m the most highest paid decorator alive.”
According to Daily UK Mail, Choe was asked to paint the Palo Alto offices and was given a payment option by then-President Sean Parker: a few thousand dollars or the equivalent in stock options. According to the New York Times, Choe originally thought the idea of Facebook was “ridiculous and pointless,” but he fortunately still chose the latter. “Always double down on 11,” said Choe in his art book, quoted by the Times. “Always.”
In fairness, Choe’s living situation may be more of a personal choice than a financial one. (Choe’s work is a regular fixture at San Francisco’s Upper Playground and is displayed in major museums.) But we can only imagine what Wednesday morning must have been like.
Check out Choe and Zuckerberg spray-painting the Facebook headquarters in this video: