Feature: An Interview With Artist Michael Lau
Puma SELECT partners up once again with Hong Kong based artist, Michael Lau. ‘The Godfather Of Toy Figures’ being his most prominent title, Michael has seen a lot and created a lot, but his passion for discovery and enthusiasm for creation is undeniable. His latest capsule, dubbed the ‘SAMPLE’ collection, celebrates the process of ‘trial and error’, a method that Lau personally enjoys and finds joy in! We had the pleasure to have an exchange with Michael about this new collection and outlooks.
pp) This is your first time creating a full collection for Puma. Was it harder or easier to create for multiple products rather than just a single product?
ML) I think once you have a clear concept, whether it is one item or one collection, it should has the same story telling, just giving a different spin.
pp) How quickly did the ‘SAMPLE’ idea come to you? Did you have multiple ideas prior to settling on the ‘SAMPLE’ idea?
ML) I always had the ‘SAMPLE’ idea, it goes back to my Mr. Shoes collection back in 2005. I was always amazed by the crazy chase amongst one of a kind sneaker such as the ‘SAMPLE’ of collaboration sneakers, hence the inspiration.
pp) Your statement, “Please enjoy and make fun out of the process of trial and error,” is a nice piece of advice, certainly for creatives. Have you always had this ethos throughout your career? (Can you share any memories/instances where an error has occurred that changed the entire direction and creation of a piece?)
ML) As an independent artist and creator where sometimes the production process has to rely on third party vendor or factory, there were always interesting outcome or experience which was not part of my plan or design; but came as a result of error which at times could give me some inspiration. Sometimes you would be amazed by the creativity and sometimes it would just give you a good laugh. For example, In my style of work, I always uses freehand drawing styling and quite often, intentionally leave design with raw edges to maintain a sense of my style and human touch, but quite often factory would retouched such details to perfection assuming they are ‘flaws’!
pp) Out of interest, did any organic errors occur during the making of this collection, whether by yourself or a factory technician? If so, were they implemented?
ML) I remembered the shoes came back with some wrong color allocation and also some of the apparel items came back with wrong details, and I happily embraced these ‘mistakes’!
pp) What was the idea behind the colour palette used?
ML) It was based on the same color palette I used for the Sample Suede project for the Suede 50th anniversary project.
pp) Which pieces are your favourite in the collection?
ML) The pants which shows a color blocking part at the hem mimicking a pair of colorful socks, as I like wearing colorful socks myself.
pp) You’ve mentioned previously that when you don’t have ideas, you wait for them to come, knowing they will be on time when they are ready. What do you do in these in-between moments? Do you seek inspiration, or rest and relax?
ML) Inspiration comes everywhere, when I say I would wait for it to come, in fact I keep observing everything around me to take in the inspiration and waiting for the chemistry to take place.
pp) Being essentially grounded last year, 2020, did the experience create any ideas/directions for your art/creations?
ML) It is funny, but as an artist, I always quarantine myself anyways when I paint or when I create. Year 2020 certainly provide me with extra time to do that given all travel was suspended, it also provided me some inspirations when creating my painting given the challenges presented during the pandemic.
pp) You mentioned in an interview with Tatler Hong Kong that you have returned to painting a lot. How do your current pieces compare to your earlier years of painting? What differences do you see and feel?
ML) I would say I’m on a bigger mission to transmit my philosophy about ‘All art are toys, all toys are art’ with my painting and artwork now vs previous year.
pp) What are your biggest hopes for 2021 regarding your work?
ML) To be healthy and to be able to catch up on exhibitions that got delay in 2020.
Select sneakers from the SAMPLE collection will be available online from the 16th of January. Set the date in your calendars now.