Eye-catching mural painted over on Big Island - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Eye-catching mural painted over on Big Island

David Choe painted this mural on a wall in Kailua-Kona David Choe painted this mural on a wall in Kailua-Kona
David Choe David Choe
The mural was painted over about 72 hours after it was completed. The mural was painted over about 72 hours after it was completed.

An eye-catching mural that went up on the Big Island over the weekend is now gone. Famous graffiti artist David Choe just finished the mural on Sunday, but it was painted over on Tuesday.

Choe said he escaped to Hawaii for a healing vacation after going through a dark period on the mainland. His latest creation lasted just 72 hours. He started spray painting a wall outside the Harley Davidson dealership in Kailua-Kona on Friday. The mural included island images like Bruddah Iz, an octopus and a humuhumunukunukuapuaa.

This art school dropout is worth an estimated $200-million after Facebook went public this year. That's because he chose to be paid in stock instead of cash for his artwork at the company's office when Facebook was just starting out.

As for the Big Island mural, Choe told Hawaii News Now in a statement, "Most people cannot afford my art, so I like to donate a lot of my time and art to charity and one of the best ways to give back is public murals. It's free and accessible to everyone."

"I think that's a really wonderful gesture, but I think, again, it's always a good idea to get public input first," said Debbie Baker, executive director of the Kailua Village Business Improvement District.

Choe said Harley Davidson approved his sketches and that he talked to a lot of locals before starting, but Baker said her organization received several calls about the unusual artwork in the historic neighborhood. The group did not lodge a complaint, but told callers to contact the Harley Davidson dealership.

"The overall concern seemed to be that installation didn't reflect the appropriate values of the village," Baker explained.

While many comments posted on Choe's Facebook page praised his creativity, he shared some of the complaints that led to his artwork being painted over: "Black, deathly morbid, ugly, sickly, unchristian, too ethnic." The manager of the Harley Davidson dealership told Hawaii News Now that the franchise president decided the mural had to be erased due to the complaints.

"I can understand the community's concern when they saw an art installation that they felt was inappropriate for that setting," said Baker.

Choe told Hawaii News Now that he is sorry if he offended anyone since that wasn't his intention.

"I can't think of another city I've ever painted in where it's been met with this kind of animosity. It's all been a very humbling experience for me. So I thank Hawaii for the gift of humility," he said.

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