For Part 1 of this interview, click here.
YACK: So, did Carmelo Anthony end up buying the Tyson painting?
Choate: No, it ends badly [laughs]. I happened to be at West Broadway one day, and I get a tap on shoulder. I turn around, and I’m usually looking down at people, but it was Melo — legit 6’8″. Big smile on his face, shakes my hand, “great to see you”, all this stuff. So, he and Lala were looking at the work and he said, “How much is the Tyson painting?” I said, “Well, you’re a friend of Swizz’s and Swizz has been great to me. Because of that I’ll cut you a deal.”
YACK: What did he say?
Choate: He says to Lala, “What do you think?” and she’s like, “Well, I love it, but it’s big and I don’t know if we have the room for it.” He seemed surprised and disappointed at the same time, and was like, “no no no we got the room, we got the room.” His voice became really squeaky, talking really fast. She said, “We’ll see.” They said they were going to do some shopping and would come back for it later. I told them I’d put it off to the side.
YACK: Did they come back?
Choate: They did, but they didn’t buy it because they were on the run. They grabbed my card and said they’d be in touch. I had the Swizz Beatz painting with me and said to Lala, “Are you going to see Swizz in the next few weeks? Give this to him as a present and tell him I said thank you.” A month went by, I didn’t hear anything, and I didn’t bother Melo about it. He knew how to find me. Then one day Melo tweeted something about needing Stickum to help him grip the ball, and I tweeted back, “Yeah, I need that for my brushes because I’m always fumbling over them.” He tweeted me back immediately, saying, “I need that painting.”
YACK: Seems like he really did want it. Did he get back in touch?
Choate: I never heard back from him. I was hanging out with Swizz a couple of months later and said, “Melo says he wants the painting, but he’s not doing anything. Have you heard anything? Is he still interested?” He said they were over on New Year’s and were talking about me. Swizz said if Melo doesn’t buy the painting, he’d buy it for him.
YACK: Were they playing hard-to-get with the sale?
Choate: Nah. Over time I revisited the conversation from West Broadway in my head. I think when Lala said it was too big for the apartment, she was saying it doesn’t go with her apartment. I think that’s what it came down to.
YACK: Or maybe she didn’t want a picture of Mike Tyson in her home.
Choate: That’s possible, too.
YACK: You did sell a painting to George Lopez over Twitter. How did that come about?
Choate: A lot of people were saying, “You have Jordan paintings, you have Melo, but do you have Kobe?” I would get that two to three times a day. So I painted a Kobe. As it was drying, I took a photo, ran upstairs, and got onto Twitter. It’s easy enough to know who the Lakers fans are that have money because they sit in the front row at games. I found five or six people and tweeted at them with a soft sell: “Hey, I know you’re a Lakers fan, I just painted this Kobe, thought you might like it.” George Lopez got back to me two minutes later and asked if it was for sale. I said, “Yeah, it’s 9″ by 12″ and it’s $550.” Sold. Still drying. That’s what you can do on Twitter.
YACK: What’s it like having celebs interested in your work?
Choate: It’s just a weird thing. Swizz will say Jay-Z was over at his studio and they were talking about me and he wants me to do some work for him. Or someone like Frank Ocean or June Ambrose will put my work on Instagram because they were at Swizz’s studio and saw my work. It’s just weird, like, they were looking at my work last night and here I am watching YouTube videos of kittens, wondering if anyone is taking notice of my work and whether the sacrifices will pay off.
YACK: Have you run into any famous people in Williamsburg?
Choate: A few. I met Michael K. Williams, who played Omar on The Wire and plays Chalky White on Boardwalk Empire. He happened to be wearing a T-shirt with the same Mike Tyson image that I had worked from for the piece that Melo was interested in buying (see photo below). Michael is a super nice guy. And just this past week I met Winona Ryder, and we talked about baseball for an hour. She’s even prettier in real life than what you see on the big screen.
Visit Dave on the web at davechoate.com and in person most weekends at his kiosk on Bedford Avenue and North 8th Street in Williamsburg. Plus, get 50% off any item in Dave’s Etsy shop by entering the discount code: SACHIN
Dave’s Neighborhood Recommendation
Favorite Restaurant: Sweet Chick