david choe net worth

David Choe’s Million-Dollar Net Worth: From Graffiti Artist to Art World Sensation

Fred Bahnson 

David Choe is an American painter, graffiti artist, and muralist who has made a name for himself in the art world and has an impressive net worth of $300 million. He has become known for his figure paintings and the bucktoothed whale symbol that he features in his work. His story is one of persistence and talent, and it is an inspiration to aspiring artists everywhere.

Early Life and Career

David Choe was born on April 21, 1976, in Los Angeles, California. After his parents’ real estate business was burned down during the 1992 L.A. riots, he dropped out of high school and hitchhiked across America, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East for two years. At age 21, Choe returned to California and enrolled at the California College of the Arts, but he dropped out after two years.

Choe began painting graffiti and garnered a week-long stint in prison. He then moved in with his parents and started writing and illustrating for various magazines, taking names in the graffiti world. He also appeared in the “Vice” web series “Thumbs Up!” (2007–2010), which documented David and his best friend, Harry Kim, hitchhiking and train-hopping around the U.S. and hitchhiking across China.

Art Career and Successes

Choe’s talent as an artist finally caught the attention of the pop culture store and magazine “Giant Robot.” David hung his artwork in the Melrose Avenue ice cream shop Double Rainbow after art galleries showed little interest in his work. Customers liked it so much that the shop let him exhibit his work there for two years, and he would add a new piece every time one was sold.

Choe’s graffiti work eventually caught the eye of Facebook president Sean Parker, who hired him to decorate the walls of Facebook’s headquarters in Silicon Valley. When it came time to negotiate his price, Choe told Parker he wanted $60,000. However, rather than taking the cash, Parker suggested that Choe take a stake in the company instead. David’s equity was worth around $200 million at the time of Facebook’s IPO. With the continuous increase in Facebook’s stock value, various reports suggest that Choe’s holdings at different times could have been worth between $300-500 million.

Choe has worked for magazines like “Hustler,” “Vice,” and “Ray Gun,” and he co-hosted the “DVDASA” podcast with adult film star Asa Akira. He has pursued his passion for graphic novels and has published books like “Slow Jams” (1999), “Bruised Fruit: The Art of David Choe” (2002), “Cursiv” (2003), and “David Choe” (2020).

Personal Life

David Choe values his privacy and stays away from the media limelight. Therefore, there is not much information available about his personal life. Still, we can say that David Choe is an artist who has remained grounded despite his massive financial success.


David Choe’s journey to fame and fortune is a testament to his talent, dedication, and creativity. His unique style and ingenuity have earned him a special place in the modern art world. His success is also a lesson to aspiring artists that with hard work and determination, even the most challenging of journeys can lead to the greatest of rewards. With his net worth exceeding $300 million, David Choe is one of the most successful artists of this generation.