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Facebook Graffiti Artist Could be Worth $500 Million

Discussion in 'The Big Adda' started by Steel, Feb 8, 2012.

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  1. Steel

    Steel Lieutenant SENIOR MEMBER

    Aug 25, 2011
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    From left, Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz and Sean Parker of Facebook in 2005. The murals are by the artist David Choe.

    Last week Evelyn Rusli and I wrote about the people who are set to get rich from Facebook’s coming initial public offering of stock. The most startling was David Choe, a graffiti artist who chose Facebook stock instead of cash when he spray-painted the first Facebook offices in 2005.

    Although Mr. Choe declined several requests for an interview while I was reporting the story, he took to the airwaves on Tuesday as a guest on The Howard Stern Show to discuss his windfall. (Warning: the conversation, like Mr. Choe’s paintings, is very sexual descriptive.)

    (And for a person who said he wants to avoid publicity, Mr. Choe has apparently been meeting with Barbara Walters.)

    After talking about a number of topics that are not safe for workplace discussion, Mr. Choe and Mr. Stern talked about the money the graffiti artist will make from his Facebook stock.

    Mr. Choe said Facebook originally offered him $60,000 to paint murals in the company’s Palo Alto offices in 2005. Today, he said, the stock he took instead could be worth more than $500 million.

    Yes, that’s what he says: half a billion dollars to paint the murals.

    But it is unclear how much of the original stock Mr. Choe has left. Mr. Choe told Mr. Stern that he did not own all of his original stock and that he had sold some — presumably on the secondary market. He declined to say how much.

    Facebook clearly understood the value of Mr. Choe’s murals. When the company outgrew its first offices in Palo Alto and moved to a larger space, the mural-covered concrete walls were removed from the building and placed on display in the new offices.

    In his conversation with Mr. Stern, Mr. Choe reiterated his original feelings about Facebook in 2005, saying: “People don’t remember, Facebook was a joke.” But his tune has changed since then. Mr. Choe talked about how much he likes Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s founder. Mr. Choe also said he recently painted the company’s new headquarters free.

    When Mr. Stern asked him if he was “half out of his mind to turn down the $60,000 dollars,” Mr. Choe said he “likes to gamble” and noted that he believed in Sean Parker, then Facebook’s president, who had hired Mr. Choe to paint the offices.

    As we noted in our original article, the payout to Mr. Choe would provide more money from his paintings than Sotheby’s attracted for its record-breaking $200.7 million auction in 2008 for works by Damien Hirst.

    Mr. Choe opted for Facebook stock instead of $60,000 in cash.

    Facebook Graffiti Artist Could be Worth $500 Million - NYTimes.com
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