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Home FEATURES David Choe Interview

David Choe Interview

Written by Trippe   
Thursday, 04 January 2007 11:17
A preview of this Bay Area painter's show at Jonathan Levine Gallery in NYC. We spoke with him before the show opened.
We interviewed David like 6 years ago... We thought now would be a great time to catch up with him since he has a big solo show opening up at the Jonathan Levine Gallery in NYC Saturday January 6, 2007... Other that, Dave doesn't need much of an intro. Read about the show, his CCA experience, his relationship with Heidi Fleiss, the films he's working on, and check out some of his current work.

So your show opens on Saturday. I imagine shit's pretty hectic right now. Any last minute tasks? What's your mental state before opening up such a large show?

It's really intense, because besides the jail art show I did in new york last year, I've never done a huge painting show that flexes all my creative bones in the big apples and people been asking for it for years so I hope I don't dissapoint... plus the fact that some of the work sells in the 5 figure range it alienates a lot of my deadbeat fans that can only afford my one dollar zine's... You try to please everyone, but in the end I just end up making shit that makes me happy, and hopefully someone else likes it too. Plus, it doesn't help that people say shit like, "I admired and connected wth your work because it was raw, fresh, unglamorized, and a "not giving a fuck attitude towards it". Your work was the level I wanted to be on. I'm over it now though. No offense, but you shouldn't get too comfortable doing the same type of shit over and over. I know it sells, but cmon, man." It's like, do I like the work or the story of the artist? The line became blurred for me in regards to you."... whoa?! that's fucked (some guy wrote that on my blog 5 minutes ago http://davechoe.blogspot.com)... Bottom line though is that I don't give a fuck, I make art that I like for myself, to express myself, and if my personality gets in the way of that then don't read or watch any more interviews. If you think I'm reapeating myself your fucking tripping. Also, I'm tripping on security, I got my friends and family and some undercover on look out, but the loonies and crazies have been jacking my paintings at my last few shows. We caught one at the Upper Playground show and really did a number on them. It's not ok to steal paintings. You will get fucked up... Anyways, right now my house looks like those crazy peoples house when they die, and the police come in a year later and the trash is stacked a foot deep and everthing smells like milk and furry meats.

How would you describe the work in this show?

Really mental. A lot of painting right before I go to bed and right when I wake up. A lot of dreams of far away places... places I want to go... places I'm scared of. A lot of watercolors and tons of mixed media shit... tons of subliminal erotic dirty styles.

Your monster Scion truck was pretty sweet. What happens to those cars after Miami? Did you get to keep it?

I was at soul assasins studio last month and cartoon has his car, so I can't wait for the day I get mine. I'm gonna wreck that shit in the first week.

Where are you living now? Heard you're bouncing about.

I was living in New York to help art direct Jewcy. After that I flew to LA to hitch hike and frieght hop from downtown L.A. to miami. I slept a lot in the street last month (that was for http://www.vbs.tv) then I've been lecturing and demo-ing alot... so I end up seeing the inside of a lot of hotels. I'm hardly ever at home in San Jose.

You went to CCA. What's your opinion of the school? Would you recommend it?

Sure. Take Barron Storey and Vincent Perez. Try to get laid and then drop out.

Speaking of Barron Storey, I noticed him in the documentary that's being made about you. Your work seems similar. How did he influence you and your work?

Well my whole life I've been dirty Dave. So barron worked right into my dirty styles. The dirty styles rules all other schools and styles. The layering, the personal touch to everything, I'm from the school of dirty styles, but it's more than just style and surface, it's every dirty thing that's inside you. Dirty styles is painting on found object besides a blank peice of paper or blank white wall, this started for me when my dad would bring home used xeroxes's from work so I could crayola all over the backs, then moved onto painting on bus benches and other shit on the street because I couldn't afford canvases... so even before you start there's some history, there's some spills, chills and marks, then you keep creating more history on top of that, spilling, spraying ,dripping, creaming, collaging, making a mess. All this ugly dirty shit and hopefully the end product being something that's tolerable and beautiful... something born from that filth. Creating hope from dark beginings... the fucking dirty styles. It's theraputic as hell. It sounds easy, but most people really suck at it, and a lot of people try. Some people that are great at it like Bill Sienkiewicz , Dave Mckean, Ashley Wood, John Copeland, Jeff Soto, Barry McGee, MARS-1, and dave kinsey. Barron Storey is the current king of the dirty school... past kings were Rauschenberg and Klimt... I'm just a pawn.

Speaking of the documentary, tell us about it. When's it due out?

Fuck man, I don't know. I leave Harry alone to make his movie... check http://dirtyhandsmovie.com/ for updates.

The movie that I helped out in and did some voices for that is done is WE ARE THE STRANGE (an animated movie that my friend M. strange made over the course of the last 3 years, with a little help from me and Sean Boyles) is officially in the Sundance festival!! Not only is it in, it's showing four fucking times (is that normal?)!! and I think it's the only animated feature that got in this year. The hollywood types are already sniffing around, offers from all the major studios are starting to come in... Can't wait to see how this all plays out. I'm excited as fuck. I'll see you all in mormon country next year. It's gonna blow your fucking mind. You've never seen anything like this. Here's the schedule for PARK CITY,UTAH: Friday January 19th. Egyptian. 11:59pm --- Saturday January 20th. Egyptian. 12:00pm --- Sunday January 21st. Broadway 4. 6:00pm --- Saturday January 27th. Holiday IV. 9:30pm

On your site you mention something about working on a project for Heidi Fleiss, the LA madam. What's that all about?

Remind me to tell you another day. I can write a book about that period of my life. She had me paint horses for her bedroom, and tried to pimp me out to rich older ladies... It was a fucking trip man... Heidi's a really cool lady but out of her fucking mind.

Describe an average day.

I actually answered this question once like it was a homework assignment here.

Describe the process of creating a new work.

Skribbles and scrwals and drafting and sketching with markers pens pencils and crayons, collages with matte medium, next a juicy super wet super loose pelican watercolors, don't wait for it to dry, light mist spray from a neutral to dark krylon, tighten up with acrylics, tighten up even more with color pencils and different inks in rapidographs, set the whole thing back with workable fixitve, oil wash over entire painting bring out the highlights by wiping away darks, set the whole thing in stone with kamar varnish remove unwanted parts with graffitti remover and begin the whole process until desired effect is achieved, end with oral sex.

Any New Years resolutions?


What is the worst thing that happened in 2006?

Not making it to the toilet (happens once every other year)

What was your greatest accomplishment in 2006?

Just living my life the way I want... every day is a blessing. I get flown all over the world to basically showoff- especially getting to live out my second life as a musician. People recognizing the drum skills as well as the art skills... After all these years, it's still pretty new for me... One of the biggest highlights for me this year was playing with the Miami high school marching band at Art Basel... In the last few years I've got to jam with Aceyalone, Peanut Butter Wolf, Mad Lib, Cutsoquick, The Fingerbangerz, Ted Shred and the Dandy Warhols... playing beats is as important to me as art.

Read in an interview about you getting lost in the Congo for two weeks. What was that all about?

Well I actually went twice... Once when I was 19. That's when I got lost and then again a decade later last January when I was 29. I didn't get lost that time, but my translator almost had his head chopped off by the chief's sister. Watch the preview here.

What are some of your future plans after this show?

Brutal anal sex


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