December 6, 2010
We were lucky enough to have caught up with award-winning, Hong Kong-based artist, Michael Lau to chop it up and see what’s happening in his world of fun and toys. Hit the jump to read the full interview.
Hey Michael, hope you’re well and keepin’ busy. Thank you so much for taking time off your busy schedule to be with us. We really appreciate it…. Speaking of which, what does work/your schedule usually involve on a day-to-day basis?
Wake up / work / football / eat / work / eat / watch football / sleep
Some people work best in the mornings, others at night… which one are you and why?
I work well in both morning and nights.
I grew up with your Gardener comic strips, clearly remember when you released your first 12” Maxx back in 1998 and have been an avid follower ever since so I am familiar with what you do, but for those who are aren’t, could you elaborate on what you have done in the past and present?
Long story short – Gardener comics was published in East Touch magazine back in 1998, followed the gardener exhibition at the HK art centre in 1999. Since then everything just took off.
Every artist has a source of inspiration; be it their family pets, siblings, comics or even something as simple as a spoon. Where do you turn to for creative inspiration and motivation when producing your work?
If you place close enough attention in observing things around you, you will find inspiration everywhere.
What was involved in the creative process during the birth of the Gardenergala project?
Being such an influential figure in the designer toy industry, how do you feel your work has impacted the industry? And what are your thoughts on the industry now?
I never thought about how my work would influence or impact the industry, I just keep my head focus on doing what I believe was right. I kept creating originality that is from me at the same time trying to break through from ‘michael lau’ style every time. The industry now is a lot bigger, it can accommodate a lot more people but also many will fade out if the interest can’t be continued.
In every artist’s career, there is a moment where they look back and think…”Wow, I can’t believe that happened. That was a really humbling experience.”, when was that moment for you?
1999 Gardener exhibition at the Hong Kong art centre
Are there any artists that you look up to/admire? Why? And if given a chance, what sort of project would you like to work on with him/her?
Many but at current times, I really like the work of Tim Burton and gladly I already have a chance to work with him on a madhatter figurine as an extension of the ‘alice in wonderland’ movie.
Some of my favourite pieces from your collection are the LMF series, the Lam Dog collab and the 101 12” Gardeners. What are your favourite pieces from your own releases and why?
Gardener is no doubt, but I do quite like SFCC because of the concept.
You recently celebrated your 10th year anniversary at De La Barracuda LA and it seemed to be a huge success. How did the exhibition go, how did that project come about and why LA of all places to start with?
Gardener was born because of the boom of the street culture back in 1990’s, and LA is definitely a place where a lot of those culture is coming from. So it is interesting to bring the gardeners to LA at theirs 10th birthday and funny enough, the style and culture of the gardeners is still very relevant to LA now.
Lets talk about Michael Lau before 1998…what did you use to do, how was life back then and what’s different now?
I had worked as someone to help restore painting, also as a visualizer in ad agency. I still do what I like then and now, certainly there are lot of opportunity for me now as well as responsibility in a way.
Your wife and family must be really proud of you. What do they think of the career path you chose?
I’m sure you’ve been really busy working on new releases, could you give us an insight to what’s on the horizon?
I’ve been working for a year on a big exhibition towards the end of this year in Hong Kong, You will see.
On a lighter note, everyone is a fan of super human powers. If you were given a super power, what would it be and why?
To fly because you can be free.
For those who want to know where to keep up-to-date with your work and to purchase your releases, where would they be able to do so?
….should be www.crazysmiles.com but I don’t have time to do a good enough job yet, a website that is put together by my fans Noe is also a great source www.michaellau-art.com
Michael…Thank you so much again for taking time off your busy schedule to be with us today and sharing your thoughts with everyone. We at Fat Kids wish you all the very best and will be looking forward to seeing more amazing works from yourself. Keep up the awesome work!
words by Benny Teh