Michael Lau (born 1970) is an artist from Hong Kong who is known for his illustration and designer toy figures. Lau is widely credited as the founder of the urban vinyl style within the designer toy movement. His work has had a significant effect on toy manufacturers, as well as street culture, including artists and musicians, throughout the world. His style is particularly influential to Asian and American hip-hop and skateboarding culture. Lau has won several awards for his work, including four from the Hong Kong-based Philippe Charriol Foundation.
Lau started his career by displaying his art in small galleries in Hong Kong, where Lau worked as a window display designer, before searching for employment in the advertising industry. In 1997, Lau was hired to illustrate the cover art for the Anodize electronic music album. In 1998, he began the Gardener comic strip in East Touch magazine for which he is best known for. The characters featured in this comic strip were the basis for his first series of vinyl collectible figures. In 1999, his work became popular enough to attract the attention of the Sony corporation, who exclusively distributed a selection of his Gardener pieces in Asia. Lau signed a contract with Sony which lasted until 2003. During this time, Lau continued to work steadily, creating illustrations and vinyl figures in a graffiti-influenced style.
He graduated from Design First Institute in Hong Kong in 1992. While some of his art was on display in Lau worked with the Hong Kong hip-hop group LMF, creating a series of figures based on them. He has created other series of urban vinyl figures, such as Crazychildren and Lamdog, in addition to stand-alone pieces. His work is highly collectible and is predominantly collected by adults; his figures are almost exclusively available from designer toys retailers.
In 2004, he opened his own gallery, called michael, in Quarry Bay, Hong Kong.
- Unofficial biographical website created by Noe Valladolid
- Official site of the T90 Blackball exposition
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