Watch Out for David Choe, Korean Muralist & Graffiti Artist

By Candace Kita ‘11

Staff Writer

Candace Kita (’11) is an art major and dedicated Tumblr fiend, keeping a watchful eye on the contemporary arts in LA. With a particular interest in public and community-based art forms—in addition to extensively immersing herself with Asian American communities—here she wields her well-chosen words on graffiti artist David Choe. While I am failing spectacularly in keeping up with the contemporary art scene, David Choe has caught my eye in that he is a badass artist in every sense of the word. Vulgar, messy and never fearing a well-placed expletive, Choe is the LA art scene’s rising Korean American rock star. Although I am not sure how I feel about some of his female representations and his various arrests for assault, I admire his brazenness in gloriously messing up pristine, white gallery walls.

An art school dropout and urban nomad wandering from L.A. to the Bay to N.Y. and Vietnam, Choe is most infamously known as a muralist and graffiti artist but works proficiently across a variety of mediums. My first encounter with Choe was at Visual Communications over the summer, who featured a short documentary on the details of his late-night graffiti exploits and his torch-lit escapes from the L.A. police. He does what graffiti artists should do: shamelessly claiming public space and blatantly repudiating glossy artistic expectations, recreating our environment with striking, stop-in-your tracks visuals. As one art critic notes, Choe is compellingly repulsive. His complex and pulchritudinous pictures, seductive, appealing and ambitious yet equally mischievous, brutal and insular demonstrate what an angry, intelligent talent can truly achieve.You cannot deny Choe’s got style and isn’t afraid to use it.