David Em studied film directing at the American Film Institute and painting at the Pennsylvania Academy. His computer-generated creations have been broadcast on network television in America, Europe, and Japan, and exhibited in museums such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Madrid, and the Seibu Museum in Tokyo.

His work has been profiled in many books and magazines, including Newsweek, The Encyclopedia Britannica, Forbes, Mondo 2000, Omni, Der Spiegel, Smithsonian, and Gardner's Art Through the Ages. Harry N. Abrams has published a book on his computer worlds titled The Art of David Em with a foreword by David Ross, the Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Em has given talks about his work at Harvard, MIT, the University of Paris, USC Film School, SIGGRAPH, Nicograph, Imagina, Cal Arts, Disney, the AAAS, and many other organizations. He was the Artist in Residence at the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) for ten years, and a Faculty Associate at Cal Tech for four years.

Em has consulted and produced projects in collaboration with companies such as Apple, Hewlett Packard, CBS Records (covers for Herbie Hancock's three digital albums), Universal Studios, Interplay, Canal Plus, Canon, Kodak, and Polaroid.

Currently, Em works in his own studio with desktop PCs. In his spare time, he studies Maya hieroglyphs.

His work was influenced by the works of Vermeer, Velazquez, Brueghel, O'Keefe, Ernst, Warhol, Whitney Sr.