David Choe Blends the Line Between Artist and Guru

Wildly successful Artist David Choe is not just an artist ok, he is possibly downright the most interesting man in the world. David Choe is more than a painter or graffiti artist. As a matter of fact, I believe he’s gone to the next level of art. Choe has turned life itself into an art form.  In this way, he’s transcended the “normalcy” of what we consider to be the classical art medium and ascended to legendary status as some sort of guru/magician.

  This Choe thing I’m going on isn’t a mere predilection, however. Frankly, all modern careers have their origin in archaic primitive societal jobs. Now that’s not just me saying that.  Think about it for a minute.  Every modern career can be traced back to some stone age utility right? Grocers were once hunter-gatherers,  Mayors were once high Chiefs of tribes, Hunters were business owners and so on and so on.  So that brings me inevitably to the artist. Where does David Choe the artist fit into this primitive caste? 

The Artist is Shaman

Yes, David Choe is an artist/magician.  His life is the art form and it has made him wildly successful and incredibly interesting.

Listen, there is a reason why art and artists have always been pushed somewhat out to the fringes of society. Think about the conditions of the artist. For one, the graffiti artist. Ok, graffiti artists sneak out late at night to vandalize the neighborhood. What they do is illegal. But it’s sort of dark magic.  They conjure and manipulate matter to induce altered states of consciousness in the people who see their stuff.

You see a piece of art. Eyeballs focus on it with intent. Your brain registers something; color, form, subject, context, etc. Then, whatever the artist intended for you to “see” (if you can even call it that) is now in your psyche.  Filtering through your mind. Maybe also that you just have a black magic curse, my friend.

Artists are like, beyond mortal men.  That is, there is something about the artist that is wholly outside of society altogether.  It may be even outside of reality itself.  Artists reach into the boundaries of reality to bring to life what others can’t see. They somewhat live in the spirit world.  Naturally, for this reason, the archaic career counterpart to the modern artist is of course the Shaman or Magician.


Art is a window into the transcendent.  One of the key takeaways that come from Davids’s supreme guruship in Art Magic is how he taps into the spirit world.  He lives life supremely on his own terms, he lives on the edge.

Here is what the Journalist and the mad artist Hunter S. Thompson had to say about living on the edge:

“The edge, there is no honest way to explain it. Because the only people who really know where it is, are the ones who have gone over. The others the living are those who pushed their control as far as they felt they could handle. And pulled back or slowed down. The edge. Is still out there.”

Creative people don’t just paint pictures. Instead, they actually revitalize society itself.  They make things magnificent and beautiful.  Look at Europe. Europe took thousands of years to create. It was a massive collaboration in the making that has become one of the largest tourist hubs in the world.  It’s filled with nothing but spectacular artistic feats of architecture and alla-prima that have riveted and transformed the world as we know it.

David Choe follows in this tradition.  He wields the same artistic power over consciousness that all other artists do.  He has proved himself to be a great artist.  Yet he’s transcended to the other dimension of art.  This schizophrenic hyper-spiritual realm that can only be equated with Shamanism.  Art is at the core of where magic gains its power. The artist David Choe is like the Grand Wizard.  He is the chosen one and for that, the gods of art have granted him a truly extraordinary life.

So you’ve been waiting for this list post haven’t you.  Well, the ramble is over.  Here are the legends of the artist David Choe.

1) Graffiti Artist David Choe is A Part of Art History

David Choe was an active player in the street art movement.  Just like all art history comes in cycles. You know, like the Dadaists gave way to the Surrealists and Futurists, etc. Well, one of the last great movements in art history was the street art movement and David Choe is a bonified artist associated with it.

David Choe’s wildly successful career spans more than 20 years. His story really starts with art.  He’s a terrific artist. However, his incredibly successful art career is probably the least interesting part about him.

“David Choe is really happening right now. He’s very much a part of the street scene.  And it’s also representative of a rather new phenomenon. At least it seems that way to me.  Which is a cross over of street culture and gallery artists and Daves right there.”

-Ben Storey

He started from a mere Ice-cream shop mom and pop art show to hanging his art all over the world.

2)Hunted Dinosaurs in the Congo

Choe got in with the Vice boys at the onset of the company’s first foray into building online content.  Since he had already been a stylized illustrator for other magazines at the time he was a shoo-in for producing pictures for their magazine.  Like I said previously. As the company progressed and started to move onto online territory Choe and his antics made him the perfect character for the kind of genuine stylized content that appeased the magazine’s millennial crowd.

Years before the infamous David Choe in the Congo Vice special  Choe had already been to the Congo before.  He was well seasoned in Brazzaville which was also the home of the Cryptid Mokele-Mbembe.  Which is a Dinosaur said to inhabit the dense Jungles of the Congo.



3)He is A Celebrity Among Celebrities

Celebrities speak of David Choe only in Legend.  If you’d ask him, however, he would probably tell you that he is a Z list celebrity.

In an interview with Audrey Plaza on Conan Obrien, she talked about an interaction that she had with David Choe.

The story goes like this.  He got in contact with Audrey Plaza and brought what he called “a house warming gift.”  The house warming gift was apparently a naked picture that he’d painted of her or some girl who looked mildly like her.  So he shows up to her house wearing nothing but a white suit with no shoes on and then jumps in her pool.


He taught John Cusack how to paint.  A long time ago Choe posted pictures of himself and John Cusack.

I mean he never was friendly with Quentin Tarantino as far as I know but he sure as hell was commissioned to design a promotional movie poster for Inglorious Basterds.

He did an album cover for Linkin Park and Jay Z.

Choe makes a brief appearance in the book by Vice founder and controversial Right-wing pundit Gavin Mcinnes.  Choe knew Gavin and Seth before Vice had become a global mega-media company. Like I said before; he did a bit for them by hunting for Dinosaurs in the Congo.

Yet Choe is so well connected in the world of famous people.  In this book Gavin Talks about David Choe at his bachelor party.


He was also a very good friend of Anthony Bordain.  In one of Bourdain’s shows, David Choe makes an appearance and takes Anthony Bordain, this classically trained chef, to the Sizzler.

4) He Bought a Banksy for $50 Back before Banksy was Even Famous

David Choe claims to have bought a Banksy 20 years ago before Banksy was well known.  Apparently there was a small community in Los Angeles called Silver Lake. A tiny bookstore was allowing artists to hang their paintings on the wall.  According to the story, there was a young chap from the UK named Banksy who was having one of his first art shows in the bookstore.

David Choe in a blog post says that the pieces weren’t selling.  At a whopping $200, Choe at the time couldn’t afford any of them. However out of a sense of allegiance to the graffiti community he wanted to somehow support the struggling Banksy. Intently, he managed to weasel the shop owner to sell him the artwork for a mere $50.

Now that Banksy could be worth hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.

5) Hitchhiked around the world and back again

Since he was a kid David Choe has been hitchhiking.  He’s been possessed by this urge to travel that seems to go beyond the common man.  He claims to have traveled all across Europe, only to get bored with it.  Somehow the thrill of hitchhiking alone.

David Choe is a Natural Adventurer he’d spent his early childhood, as he puts it, seeking adventure.

“This sense of adventure, the sense of wonder. I don’t know. I guess it’s really childish but I wanted to see & go to places nobody’s ever been before.”


 5)#1 Pornstar Asa Akira was his Co-star in A Wildly Successful Podcast called DVDASA

As I mentioned earlier. David Choe brushes shoulders only with the superstars of society. For a while he and


6) He Was A Master Criminal For A While

Choe boasts about how he attended the Rodney King riots. “LA Riots were one of the best days and the worst days of my life.” He says in his documentary “Dirty Hands: The Life and Crimes of David Choe.” 

It’s a known fact that Choe lives on the edge. Growing up in a rough part of LA, Choe was bound to get into some deep trouble.  When he was a kid in fact he got caught up in a forgery scam while in the Ghetto.  He tried to cash a fake check in South Central.  However, instead of getting away with it the cops immediately descended on the scene and arrested him and only him.

Forging checks wasn’t the only offense.  At one point while visiting a frat/co-op in Berkley, Choe and his friends were invited in to attend.  After discovering that there was a community fridge, Choe and his friends drove a truck up to the building and stole everybody’s food.

“Once I found out how good I was at stealing. That was a career choice for me.”

-David Choe

7)Ghost Writer & Illustrator for Porn Magazines

Back in the day, David Choes art was featured in porn magazines.

8) Spent Months in a Japanese Jail

In 2003 David was invited to do a group art show in Tokyo.  While just out shopping he got stopped by a security guard. Apparently, the security guard thought he had stolen something.  Well, it turns out that the guard was undercover and speaking wildly in Japanese.  This seemed to be a prime case of being “lost in translation.” Imagine an aggressive Japanese dude manhandling you. For Choe, it seemed like this was just some random dude attacking him, for no reason.  So David did what anybody would probably do. He popped the guy one and scooted out of there. I seem to remember in an interview Choe saying something like: “I’m a one pump chump, I can do the hundred-meter dash in ten seconds.” 

Choe was eventually apprehended and taken to Japanese jail. In the months that he spent incarcerated in Japan, he took the time to be as productive as he could.  He filled notebook after notebook with as many images as he could muster from his imagination.  What resulted was a crazy prolific series of work.

9)Painted a Mural for Heidi Fleiss 

A year after being released from jail in Japan the Artist David Choe met the now infamous Hollywood Madame. He must have naturally connected with her lifestyle too.   Regardless though, prostitution is illegal in America.  But let me ask you, what is a huge prostitution scandal involving Heidi Fleiss, without David Choe? So guess who was commissioned to paint Heidi Fleiss’ mural?  That’s right Heidi Fleiss the infamous Madam of Hollywood commissioned David Choe to paint a mural. And it was a massive monumental art piece too. Too bad it only lasted a week.

 David Choe painted the entire side of her sex shop on Sunset and Fountain in LA.  Unfortunately, after it was finished it got painted over a week after it was done.

Artist David Choe painted a painting for Heidi Fleiss

10)Became A multi-Millionaire Gambling in Vegas

Not only did David Choe have the ability to become a millionaire as an Artist. He also developed a degenerate gambling habit.  Mind you gambling has the power to completely wreck ones life. However, for the Choe man, being the most interesting man in the world gave him a leg up.  He had profound luck. David Choe even claims to have had  “made and lost small fortunes while gambling in vegas.” 

The picture that I took from my book

10) $250-300 Million in Facebook Stock

Sean Parker, one of the founders of Facebook, was a fan of David Choe.  Now, keep in mind.  This happened way before Facebook was even really “a thing.”  They were just getting their bearings straight as a start-up.  However, the two entrepreneurs really wanted to create a hip office that would appeal to their employees.  Naturally, they commissioned the mighty Choe to paint their small office.

So the legend goes like this.  Though Choe had just been released from Jail.  He was a gambling man.  Desperately he needed the money.  Yet Sean made Choe a different offer.  Instead of being paid in cash, he could be paid with stock options.  Magic artist David Choe, being the gambling man that he is, took the stock options instead of the cash.

Listen to that for a minute.  He took stock options on Facebook during a time when everybody was using myspace still. Choe admits that he could have used the money.  But something in him drove him to take the stock.

Inevitably it was a gamble that paid off. Big time.  Now Choe is sitting on a net worth probably somewhere around $250-300 million.  Now that is legendary.

11)  Ayahuasca Spiritual Journey

One of his colleagues recommended him to take drugs.  He was shocked. Apparently Daniel Pinchbeck put together a retreat in Columbia David was hesitant to attend. After all, Columbia was at the height of the drug war.  However, eventually, David went and had a trip on Ayahuasca.

12) Paints in His Own Blood

Some of David’s artwork contains traces of his DNA. If you took some of these paintings you could literally clone your own David.

But seriously, he enjoys working in his own blood sometimes.  In the movie “Slow Jams” You can see him punching himself in the nose until his nose bleeds.  As soon as his nose reaches a point of critical injury the blood spills out.  Choe then immediately takes his paintbrush and starts painting with blood.

13) He’s a Casanova

Choe has never been caddy about his sexual escapades. This is because during his now banned podcast with Asa Akira he boasted about his conquests.


The Artist David Choe is really a profound figure in art history. I for one would definitely consider him to be one of the most interesting individuals living today.

He’s a testament that people can go from rags to riches.  That critical archetype is still real I guess.  Choe is the result of it.  I mean, he grew up on the streets what have you.  The guy went from breaking into construction sites to being a part of not only Facebook as a Start-up but Vice News as well.  It’s like anything that he touches turns to pure gold.  For that, I testify that the artist David Choe is by far the most interesting man in the world.

David Ex Machina

David Ex Machina


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