The Choe Show: Terrifying, brilliant or terrifyingly brilliant?

Artist David Choe holds nothing back in his new four part interview series.

FX Networks | Photo Courtesy

Since the early 2000s, David Choe has been an extremely respected and well-known graffiti artist in various art communities. However, all of that changed in 2012 when he was selected by the board of directors at Facebook to be the artist behind the murals in their new office space. Choe agreed, but only with the understanding that he would receive stock options instead of straight cash. Not long after, the Facebook stock went public and the rest was history.

It is now estimated that the stock Choe received is worth at least $200 million. 

Throughout his life, Choe never really narrowed his sights on a single artistic medium. Instead, it almost seemed he viewed his life as the artwork, while the works he produced are more of a therapy session than a way to support himself. As an artist myself, I have always struggled to wrap my head around what that form of thinking even looks like. 

Recently I was browsing Hulu when I came across the four-part documentary-style interview experience that is aptly titled, The Choe Show. I decided to dive in without doing any research on the series or on David Choe, for which I am extremely thankful for. 

The series is quite possibly the most action-packed and exciting interview show I have ever seen — not only in subject matter but also with eye-catching and often jaw-dropping visuals thrown at you. Each episode is a constant stream of beautiful and vibrant colors helping you digest the dark content usually discussed in the episodes. 

Choe decided to have as wide a mix of interview subjects as possible, stemming from pornstars to musicians, including many celebrities such as Denzel Curry, Kat Von D and Rainn Wilson. His interactions with these individuals are all vastly different. However, one thing remains constant across the board: Choe is no stranger to controversy and holds nothing back in the questions posed to his subjects.

The first episode is based around an interview with Pornstar Asa Akira, a long-time friend of Choe. I will admit that this is one of the more intense and uncomfortable interviews, as much seems to be focused on how Choe believes Asa’s children will be ashamed and bullied because of what their parents did for a living. I will say that the aggressive interview style seemed to be taken and accepted by Asa herself so I am still not entirely sure how to feel about his actions in this scene.

The rest of the series however, has a very different tone and feel to it. The next episode is focused mainly around rapper Denzel Curry, who has been making dark and sometimes frightening music for the past few years. About three minutes into the episode I realized that this series was an experience that I will never forget. Choe seemed to waste no time, diving straight into the topic of his struggles with addictions and various traumas throughout his and the subject’s life and how that affected their art or work.

Each episode has a similar composition style, which can only be described as abstract expressionism, because of how quickly everything transitions, leaving you with a sense of having no idea of what you just saw. Instead, you are left with a feeling, which seems to be very different depending on who you are. For me, each episode left me feeling inspired and hopeful. While others I spoke to said they had feelings of uncomfortableness or distress from the fast-paced nature of Choe’s aggressive delivery. 

Over the years I have always been drawn to and sought out films and series that focus either on individual artists or on artistic topics, never really finding anything that I have really enjoyed or been impressed by. The Choe Show has unfortunately ruined this genre of film for me for the foreseeable future. I truly do not believe that I will be able to find a work that has the ability to top or outshine this series. It is quite possibly one of the most beautiful and entertaining series I have ever watched. Because of this I can’t help but give The Choe Show a review of a full five stars. 

I would encourage everyone to go out and watch this series with as open a mind as possible. Know there will be many images and topics that make you uncomfortable but I believe that is part of what makes this series and art itself so valuable and necessary. After all, what are any of our lives worth unless we allow ourselves to feel uncomfortable and challenge our own ideas now and then.

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