Entries in Artist (3)


Facebook's Graffiti Artist: Life Unchanged by $200 Million

Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg via Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- David Choe, the 35-year-old muralist who is expected to be worth an estimated $200 million after the Facebook IPO, is bothered by the hype surrounding his newfound money.

"You can't buy your privacy back," Choe told ABC’s Barbara Walters. "Because I was already doing OK, and to have this abstract amount of money now, I cannot buy my privacy back. I was like: What the hell's happening? Every news-- Al Jazeera, every news organization in the world is beating down the door, trying to get a, you know, interview. And I'm like, 'Oh, my God.'"

Although he considers himself homeless, living in casinos and hotels, Choe is a well-known artist whose works are featured in private collections and museums.

[ Watch Barbara Walters' interview with Choe on ABC's Nightline Thursday at 11:35 p.m./10:35 CT. ]

"It's gonna sound horrible for me to say money is meaningless," he said. "But everyone's like: What are you gonna do now, now that you have all this money and freedom? I did everything I wanted to when I had nothing. Everyone's like: Well, what are you gonna do now? I'm like, I'm still gonna do whatever I want except more people are just gonna bother me now."

Facebook, a start-up social networking site started by Mark Zuckerberg in his Harvard dorm room, has grown to be one of the world's highest valued Internet companies. In 2005, Sean Parker, president of Facebook at the time, approached Choe with a proposition. He asked Choe to paint his famous murals on the office walls for $60,000, or company stock.

Choe chose the stock -- an interesting choice, since Choe once called Facebook "ridiculous." That "ridiculous" idea sprouted a social media powerhouse, which announced this month its IPO -- or initial public offerings of stock. Analysts say Facebook is expected to net the company as much as $10 billion when the stock can be sold this spring, meaning Choe made an estimated $200 million, at least on paper.

As for his murals? They're still in Facebook offices today -- though some were cut from the walls and moved to the social network's offices around the world, Choe told Walters.

For more information on David Choe's work and movie, go to

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mike Kelley, Famed Visual Artist, Found Dead in Apparent Suicide

Ann Summa/Getty Images(SOUTH PASADENA, Calif.) -- Famed installation artist Mike Kelley, known for his art work with fellow artist Paul McCarthy and the band Sonic Youth, was found dead Tuesday night at his California home, according to police.

Kelley, who was 57, died of an apparent suicide, South Pasadena Police Sgt. Robert Bartl said.  No further information was given regarding his death, but an autopsy is pending.

“It is totally shocking that someone would decide to do this, someone who has success and renown and options,” Helene Winer of New York’s Metro Pictures gallery told  “It’s extremely sad.”

Kelley drew from elements of pop culture and the post-punk aesthetic to fill spaces with unusual sculptures and objects, including, in a 2011 piece, a miniature Sigmund Freud situated with a life-sized Col. Sanders statue

It was in the early to mid-1990s that Kelley rose to fame in the art world.  “Catholic Tastes,” Kelley’s 1993 exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, established him as a major figure in the art world, a year after one of his pieces appeared on the cover of New York post-punk band Sonic Youth’s seminal album Dirty.

A student of conceptual artist John Baldessari, who is known for his use of appropriated images, Kelley worked with McCarthy, notably on set pieces featuring full life-size rubber figures.

In 2005, Kelley produced “Day is Done,” a multimedia installation featuring automated furniture and stage sets based on photos from high school yearbooks, which The New York Times called “an amazing feat of industry and poetics.”

Kelley was born in Detroit in 1954.  As a youngster, he got involved in the city’s music scene, which was producing bands like Iggy and the Stooges, and went on to play in early post-punk band Destroy All Monsters.  In the mid 1970s, he relocated to California to pursue his art career.

Kelley’s work will be included in the upcoming Whitney Biennial.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Vermont Artist Helps Community Rebuild after Hurricane Irene

ABC News(WILMINGTON, Vt.) -- Ann Coleman has traded in a paintbrush for a broom.

The Wilmington, Vt., artist lost her art gallery when Hurricane Irene, on its last legs after battering the East Coast, walloped the state last week.  Her nearly $400,000 investment now lies in ruins more than two miles downstream.

"I wish I had flood insurance," Coleman said, "but I couldn't afford it."

The art gallery, once a prominent fixture on the city's main street, is now an empty space.  The storm caused the worst flooding in the state in 84 years, washing away bridges and roadways and cutting residents off from the outside world.

Because she and her husband are both self-employed, neither of them can collect unemployment.

"Our slate has been wiped clean literally," she told ABC News.  "People kept giving me condolences. ... I took a picture and then my eyes went back to where my building was supposed to be.  There was no yellow there and it was like it's gone.  It's completely gone."

She and her husband decided not to spend time thinking about their own losses and focused on their neighbors.

"It seems selfish not to do that," said her husband, Joe Coleman, whose real estate business was also ruined by the deluge.  "If our building were still there and we needed help, everyone would be helping us."

"Our generator, we were going to use it because we were out of power at home," Ann Coleman told ABC News.  Instead, she gave it to a neighbor.  Coleman is also giving away vegetables from her backyard and doling out emotional support.

She and Joe say they barely have enough time to pick up the pieces of their own lives.

"Everybody has helped us along the way, so do unto others as you would have them do unto you," she said.  "It's all about doing things and being the best you can be.  We'll keep on keeping on."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio