Graffiti Artist Who Painted Walls in Facebook Office To Make $200 Million After IPO

The decision seven years ago by a Korean-American muralist and graffiti artist to turn down thousands of dollars in cash for his work painting murals on the walls of Facebook’s first office in Palo Alto, Calif., has made him a very, very, rich man.

Graffiti artist: David Choe was asked to paint the Facebook offices in Palo Alto, California, in 2005, and was offered the choice of being paid a few thousand cash or the equivalent in shares. Photo: Facebook

A graffiti artist who painted the walls of Facebook’s first headquarters seven years ago is set for a bumper payday of $200million after he agreed to take Facebook stock instead of cash for his work.

David Choe, 35, was asked to paint the offices in Palo Alto, California, in 2005, and was offered the choice by then-president Sean Parker of being paid a few thousand cash or the equivalent in shares, Daily Mail reports.

Choe originally thought the idea of Facebook was “ridiculous and pointless,” but he fortunately still chose the latter. “Always double down on 11,” said Choe in his art book.

As a result, Choe’s shares could be worth upward of $200 million when Facebook stock trades publicly later this year, according to ABC News.

On his blog, Choe expressed his excitement and disbelief over the news: “F*ck, have you had the dream where you ARE this guy?!?

'Whales on Parade'. Painting on the walls of Facebook Headquater by Mr Choe. photo: Facebook

And then some kind of happy accident happens, and as you’re in the middle of this glorious car crash you stop to realize that there is actually no such thing as an accident, and no chance encounters, and that everything has a direct purpose? […] then I get up and see my picture on the cover of the New York Times and I find out that I’m the most highest paid decorator alive.”

The social network company announced its $5 billion public offering Wednesday afternoon, which is expected to value the whole company at $75 billion to $100 billion. Ultimately, that offering will mint a lot of billionaires and millionaires, The New York Times reported.

Mr. Zuckerberg, 27, has 533.8 million shares, worth $28.4 billion based on a company valuation of $100 billion, or $53 a share.

Facebook’s first outside investor, Peter Thiel, the billionaire contrarian, led a $500,000 investment in Facebook in late 2004. He has 44.7 million shares that could be worth more than $2 billion.

Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s chief operating officer, holds 1.9 million shares, about 0.1 percent of the company. But she may ultimately collect 38.1 million additional shares, according to the filing, making her one of the richest in a tiny club of Silicon Valley women who are billionaires.

The elevator doors in Facebook office. Photo: Facebook

“Facebook will return insane amounts of money to the early stakeholders,” said Alex Gould, a technology investor and instructor at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, who has been studying venture returns for several years. “Facebook is not just a fund-maker, it’s a firm-maker.”

After covering the walls of Facebook headquarters with spray-painted murals Choe has been homeless, “wandering the earth, making good art and bad music,” according to his website.

Today his work is sold for thousands of dollars, featured in gallery shows and exhibited in major museums.

In 2010, he released a self-titled book of his work, described as “funny, frantic and daredevil” in nature, and capturing, “the frenetic raw energy and gorgeous, intense work of gallery and street artist David Choe.”

He also did the cover art for Jay-Z and Linkin Park’s hit 2004 music album Collision Course and even created a poster of President Barack Obama for the White House.

Left-handed Mr Choe told Ion magazine that he developed a ‘dirty style’ because his left hand would always smudge his work as a child – and admitted he even sometimes uses his own blood.

Choe also created his own Facebook page that, today, has more than 6,000 subscribers, and a wall full of congratulations from his Facebook friends.

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.

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