Charlie Ayers, better known as the “Google Chef,” is a popular reference point in IPO chatter because his stock options earned him a life-changing $26 million. Well, the New York Times has just uncovered the Facebook equivalent: graffiti artist David Choe.
Yes, the same David Choe who covered the office of Facebook’s first Silicon Valley office with erotic art. In fact, noted art appreciator Sean Parker encouraged Mr. Choe to “go crazy and draw as many giant ‘cocks’ as Choe wanted.”
Shares owned by the artist could be worth “upwards of $200 million” when Facebook goes public, based on the company’s $75 billion to $100 billion valuation. That could be more than Damien Hirst’s record-holding $200.7 million Sotheby’s auction in 2008.
In exchange for painting Facebook’s Palo Alto office on Emerson, Mr. Parker reportedly offered Mr. Choe “thousands of dollars” or stock then worth the same.
Mr. Choe, who has said that at the time that he thought the idea of Facebook was “ridiculous and pointless,” nevertheless chose the stock.
But this is hardly the case of Zuck & Co. lifting a poor street artist out of obscurity. He is now a “very successful artist” with gallery shows and pieces on display at major museums, as well as an “obscenity-strewn” book called “David Choe” that showcases work, like the Facebook murals.
Mr. Choe’s page on Facebook shows the life of a modern-day renegade artist. Among the images of his graffiti, there is a trail of images of him partying with scantily clad women and spending large amounts of money on alcohol. In recent weeks, Mr. Choe promoted photos of a $40,000 bottle of alcohol; a single shot, he boasted, costs $888.
His baller status goes further than that, though. On Mr. Choe’s personal blog, which is behind an “objectionable content” warning, Mr. Choe features a photograph of porn star Sasha Grey “incognito.” Ms. Grey has done model work for Mr. Choe before. There is also this NSFW series of photographs on the art and design blog World’s Best Ever promoting Mr. Choe’s book. In one shot, Ms. Grey is reading Mr. Choe’s book on a kitchen countertop, half-naked. In another, she poses with Mr. Choe’s art work, likewise half-naked. For the indie rock crowd, there are also photos of Ms. Grey banging on some drum sets, you guessed it, half-naked.
On his blog, Mr. Choe also notes that Facebook “cut the walls out of all my paintings and sent them to all the facebook offices around the world” and links to a video of him working on the Facebook mural. Witness, if you will, young Zuckerberg, flushed with awkwardness, and his first-ever attempt at spray-painting. Perhaps the flop sweat means Ms. Grey was near?