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David Choe (born 1976, Los Angeles, CA) is a muralist and graphic artist. His murals ornament walls, from Los Angeles, to Vietnam, as does his graffiti. He is known as much for his exaggerated vulgarity as for his aesthetic sense.
His self-published (with a Xeric Foundation grant) award-winning graphic novels, Slow Jams, (1996) and Bruised Fruit (2002) introduced diverse groups of people to museum art, and alternatively to the graphic novel genre. His most recent book is Cursiv: Giant Robot presents a book of dirty drawings (2003).
His first solo show was at a small ice cream shop on Melrose Avenue of Los Angeles' westside, called Double Rainbow, where his show was supposed to run a month, but stayed up for 2 years, constantly changing after pieces started selling better than the ice cream.
David Choe's art is often difficult to classify ranging as it does from murals to tee shirts to toys. He doesn't like his work or himself to be classified. He does consider himself an iconoclast with regard to fab trends in the art world. He has been called a gonzo artist, by analogy with Hunter S. Thompson.
David Choe is of Korean descent and was born and raised in Los Angeles. He dropped out of art school, to become a wandering street/graffiti artist. He acknowledges being a thief to support his life-style, and a number of arrests from vandalism to assault. David Choe has traveled to some of the most dangerous places on earth (the Gaza Strip, Congo Central Africa), hitchhiking and freighthopping around the US. and Europe. But among his favorite places is Vietnam. Recently diagnosed with ADD, he attributes both his abilities as an artist and his recent stint in a Tokyo jail to the disability.
David Choe now lives in San Jose, California and feels confident in his future because, as he points out, "One day, when people stop buying [his] paintings, quit wearing [his] T-shirts, [he] can still rob your fucking house."
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