MINDstyle have been instrumental in the vinyl toy scene for sometime now and more so with the current success of artists like Ron English and of course Michael Lau. Having played a pivotal role in Gardener 10th, we decided to catch up with MD from MINDstyle on the eve of the launch of their LA FAT figure at De La Barracuda.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009 (BY INVITATION ONLY)
Presented by MINDstyle + crazysmiles
Gardener 10th Exhibition & MINDstyle LA Fat release
Wood grain edition exclusive to the Los Angeles exhibition
SLAMXHYPE – For those who don’t know can you please tell us a bit about MINDstyle?
MINDstyle – MINDstyle is about collectors first, focused on combining creativity and hard work to unleash innovative quality products. Our focus is to deliver unique and original projects. We’re now based in south China. Asia was part of MINDstyle’s expansion plans and more so, the timing seemed was right allowing us to develop the emerging markets. Asia is not the future, as it’s fast becoming the pulse.
SLAMXHYPE – Please tell us about how you became involved with Michael Lau and how your relationship grew into working together for Gardener 10th project?
MINDstyle – Our creative director at the time and I were crazy Michael Lau collectors in the US and asked one of our factory partners in China to arrange a meeting. One thing led to another, and not being based in Asia at the time, a partner and I met with Michael in Hong Kong to see how we could move things forward. That was well over two years ago, lots of meetings, numerous phone calls, countless emails, wonderful meals and several product collaborations… Gardener Tenth by Michal Lau is now a reality!
SLAMXHYPE – This is by far one of the most important events in recent memory in the “Vinyl toy world”, how did you get De La Barracuda to be involved and why?
MINDstyle – Michael Lau definitely has his place in the whole movement as one of the original pioneers. Miguel is our MINDstyle LIFEstyle partner and oversees our apparel collaborations. De La Barracuda was a natural choice because of the lifestyle of the whole De La Barracuda space on Melrose. The patio area allowed for the setup of a ramp and the entire shop will transform into a creative space for the exhibition. There is such a great energy in the area with so many of the lifestyle brands.
SLAMXHYPE – Can you please tell us about your version of Gardener 10th figure?
MINDstyle – NY Fat has always been a big fan favorite. For his first visit to the United States, we were talking over lunch one day on what would be something special for collectors and fans… Michael decided a LA Fat figure would be perfect for Los Angeles since both New York and Los Angeles have great graffiti writers and lifestyles.
SLAMXHYPE – What is your perception on the Vinyl toy scene in the States and what role the Gardener and Michael Lau has played in the last decade?
MINDstyle – The scene is always evolving. As one of the original vinyl pioneers, there are many collectors today who may not even be familiar with Michael and his body pf work. Gardeners is important because of the story and being finding a loyal audience for a decade. That’s a long time… it shows Michael’s creative vision from ten years ago has connected with a fan base.
SLAMXHYPE – MINDstyle is known as a premier manufacturer and producer of vinyl toys for companies like Disney and Paramount Pictures, as well as a group of artist such as Ron English and Buff Monster. In our opinion Michael Lau and his brand crazysmiles is a completely different part of the spectrum how do you treat that relationship and it’s market?
MINDstyle – It’s really one of the same in that the same basic principles apply in business. Our vision is focused on building and working with brands. Each repsective artists and the various properties have an audience of their own. It’s all about the passion! The idea is to simply do our best in producing limited edition collectible figures and presenting our lifestyle that connects with the fans and collectors. It’s more so all about the artists and their vision.
SLAMXHYPE – Where to from here for MINDstyle and Michael Lau… maybe Gardner 11th?
MINDstyle – Today, Michael and crazysmiles are friends first, and more importantly, family. Where we go… the future is so exciting as we each are working separate projects yet find opportnities that bring us together because it naturally makes good business sense.
SLAMXHYPE – Any last thoughts about Michael Lau?
MINDstyle – For me, Michael is truly creative visionary. He has a clear sense of art and business, and works hard to remain at the forefront. In the course of working together, we’ve become friends and have built a relationship that is in an amazing creative space. In closing, a very special thanks to Michael and Florance taking the time to make Gardener Tenth possible for fans who have waited a long time! And a special thanks to all of the collaborators and partners who supported to the exhibition from the start.