Rarely do we see a street artist with the skills and complexity of David Choe. Rapidly establishing himself as one of the greats of the genre, 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.
Choe sculpts and paints in oils, acrylics, crayon and mixed media. His credibility as an ‘artist’, albeit one inclined to utilise public spaces every so often, is hardly in doubt. Influences flow through comic book culture to gothic art, impressionism and the surreal. The content of Choe’s work is equally complex and in contrast to the slick, succinct, populist messages of some of his contemporaries. The fictional military heroes of GI Joe wield boomboxes above Arabic slogans; hip young metropolitan ladies whisper their cruel conspiracies; seedy delights beckon from behind pretty vistas; grown men scream for ice cream; absurdist animals rope humans into their incomprehensible schemes. On the street, base titillating yet supposedly ‘tasteful’ advertising becomes doctored with intestines and tribal fetishes, echoing the sensual abyss of de Sade. Pictures titles include I Fuck Nerds. Equally, Choe’s figurative and collage work displays sensitivity and intricacy rarely matched by Manhattan’s girly fashion illustrator set. We should be grateful, not offended, by the insights into Choe’s potent imagination and agenda; and the alluring, intricate slag smelted from its process of reconciliation.
David Choe’s solo show Nothing to Declare in the Los Angeles Times