Michael Lau, Godfather of Designer Toys, Hopes to Make His Name in Art Market


Michael Lau, also known as the “Godfather of Designer Toys”, is an acclaimed Hong Kong artist who pioneers the trend of designer toys in the 90s. In a collaboration with Christie’s, Michael presents over 40 unconventional, graphic, and three-dimensional works. With local and overseas collectors expressing interest, it is believed that all works had been sold out before the exhibition officially unveiled. We interview Michael Lau, and Marcello Kwan, the curator of the selling exhibition.

ML: Michael Lau
MK: Marcello Kwan, Vice President, Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art, Christie’s Asia

Michael Lau’s Thoughts on Entering the Auction World

ML: It happens by chance. I like how things happen unexpectedly. Like how I gained popularity overnight with the creation of 'Gardener' to the auction of ‘Wall of Jordan’. And I later got in touch with Marcello from Christie’s. They all happened unexpectedly. My ultimate goal is to make my name in the art market.

Michael Lau’s Art Market

MK: So far, we have collectors expressing interest, from Hong Kong to Mainland China, Taiwan and overseas. It achieves my goal of introducing Hong Kong artists to the international market, as well as to bring more attention to Hong Kong artists.

Michael Lau’s favourite piece from his works

ML: The whole exhibition has been a fun experience. I like ‘Salvator Michael’. I adopted free-hand form to paint it. Then I tried to create the texture effect. It’s a fun and free style. I’m happy to have a collaboration with Christie’s. So this is a happy and important work that stages my ‘dialogue’ with Christie’s.

Michael Lau’s Change

ML: The Package Change series is about ‘change’. It started by first changing my behavior. So, in this work, I changed the way of painting from using paint brushes to sponges. I first covered the surface with colour then scraped parts of it off.

ML (continues): I took an approach that is different from what I usually do. I didn’t use bold black lines that you find in my previous works. And I apply colours that I don’t like or elements that I seldom use, hoping to make some changes in my design.

Michael Lau in the eye of Christie’s

MK: Michael Lau is both an artist and a designer. His versatility also reflects the adaptability of Hong Kong people.

Michael Lau’s Favourite Artists

ML: I like Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, especially Dali’s style and concept. I admire many artists but I don’t idolize them or trying to replicate their works. I take certain elements from the works of different artists and infuse them into my work, which is like a series of ‘tribute’.

Michael Lau’s inspiration

ML: My inspiration comes from our surroundings, everything that we see in our daily lives. The point is whether you pay attention to them, then amplify and exaggerate things that you observe.

Michael Lau’s Private Collection

ML: Toys at first. Because I didn’t have the money to buy toys when I was a kid. Then later I have more space of my own, I collect furniture. Many furniture displayed here are from my collection. So I collected toys in the past, now furniture. Maybe I will collect money in the future.

Michael Lau’s Thoughts on Collecting

ML: I mostly collect Modern Danish furniture, like the little cabinet behind me. I usually collect furniture piece because of the design or the work itself, not because it is created by a famous designer. It’s more about my personal preference, what I like. It doesn’t matter even if it is a simple furniture from IKEA. As long as you like it, be it a pen or a piece of paper.


Christie’s Hong Kong & Michael Lau Private Selling Exhibition “COLLECT THEM ALL!”

Dates: 2018/4/11 - 27
Venue: James Christie Room
Address: 22nd Floor, Alexandra House, 18 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong