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David Choe's N.Y. media tour: Howard Stern, Barbara Walters, NMA

February 11, 2012|By Deborah Netburn, Los Angeles Times
  • David Choe decorated several walls in the buildings of the new Facebook campus in Menlo Park, Calif.
David Choe decorated several walls in the buildings of the new Facebook… (Mark Boster, Los Angeles…)

David Choe, the graffiti artist who made headlines last week for having an estimated $200 million in Facebook stock, spent this week in New York granting interviews to a lucky few media outlets.

He snubbed the New York Times and Wall Street Journal but agreed to speak with Howard Stern, Barbara Walters for ABC's "Nightline" and the Taiwanese animated news service Next Media Animation.

Interesting choices.

Stern offered to adopt Choe, after double-checking that the artist still had the Facebook shares. Choe said that he had sold some a while ago but still had plenty left. The two agreed that if the adoption comes off, Choe would henceforth be known as Kim Jong Stern.

Walters allowed the artist to tag her shirt — while she was wearing it — and joined Choe in attempting to spray paint a wall, before asking him piercing questions about what he plans to do next. (He's not sure, but he'd like to go away for a while.)

The Next Media Animation piece, which the company says was done in conjunction with Choe, depicts reporters as roaches seeking interviews with Choe and shows the artist taking a spaceship to a party planet to escape the media scrutiny.

On his Facebook page, Choe linked to the NMA piece with this note: "Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm it's only about 110% completely accurate."

There was a recurring theme throughout the three interviews that Choe gave this week: He is not enjoying all the media attention.

"I can never buy back my privacy," he told Walters, adding that he felt he could do everything he wanted before he had money.

Choe got the stock in 2005 as payment for painting the walls at Facebook's first headquarters. At the time, Facebook offered to pay him $60,000 or said he could take stock in the young company. Choe, who said he's a gambling man, chose stock.

deborah.netburn@latimes.com

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