Graffiti Artist Set to Make $200 Million in Facebook IPO

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Ramin Talaie / Bloomberg News / Getty Images

David Choe, an artist who painted murals in Facebook's offices in exchange for 1% of company's stock, poses for a portrait in his Chinatown studio in New York City on May 28, 2009.

If you had a choice between a stack of cash or its equivalent in Facebook stock, which would you choose?

Now that the social-media behemoth has filed for an initial public offering, the best choice probably (hopefully) seems obvious. But back in 2005, it wasn’t so clear. Still, David Choe, the artist commissioned to paint the murals at Facebook’s first headquarters, opted for compensation in the form of stock shares. At the time, he thought Facebook was “ridiculous and pointless,” the New York Times reported, but for whatever reason, chose the stocks over cash. Looks like seven years later, that decision is about to pay off.

(MORE: Why Facebook’s IPO Matters)

As long as Choe hasn’t sold his shares on the secondary market, they’ll earn him upward of $200 million once Facebook begins to trade publicly this year, the Times reported. And Choe certainly isn’t alone; Facebook’s IPO will reportedly generate instant billionaires and millionaires across the globe.

Though he may soon be a very wealthy man, the Los Angeles native has already built a reputation for himself in the art world. One of his portraits of Barack Obama is said to be hanging in the White House, and several critics have compared Choe to prominent graffiti artists like Banksy and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Choe does have a Facebook page, though it’s unclear if he still finds the site “ridiculous and pointless.” We’re leaning towards no.

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