About the Crossover Projects

Michael has had the opportunity to work with many designers from all over the world. Some of them are his friends such as Godfrey Kwan, the founder of Junkie or became his friend such as Hardy Blechman, the founder of Maharishi.

These crossover and collaboration projects have included print and graphic design. In some cases these have even included fashion additions to the Gardeners or all new color schemes for figures.

Some of Michael's crossover work involves producing limited-number fashion items for promotion or new graphics for an advertising campaign.

Junkie's work with Michael

Junkie is a well-known design group. They have produced a number of different projects with outside companies and eventually moved into fashion. Some of the original Gardeners sported Junkie tees and Junkie eventually began designing work for Michael's exhibitions, including limited-edition tee shirt and advertising.

The one word that could describe Junkie's work with Michael is "complimentary." The design with Junkie is so seamless it is hard to tell where Michael ended and where Junkie started.

Many of the 2-dimensional graphics that Michael placed in his presentations, and on promotional items were not designed by Michael but rather by Junkie. The graphics on the right and below were produced by Junkie in Jan Lam and Gardener work.

The graphics on the Tom.Kids packaging was also produced by Junkie. With all the work done with graphics and fashion for Michael it would only be a matter of time before Junkie was allowed to design new color schemes for Michael's characters.

To the right are some of Junkie's work with the figures. Immediate right is the Jan Lam figure and far right is the CC Bear, with designs, colors and clothes by Junkie.

Maharishi meets Michael

Maharishi has quickly become a major influence to Michael's work. At the end of 2002 that relationship blossomed into exclusive figures and fashion sold at the Maharishi store in London.

To the far left is the CC Bear with exclusive scarf and olive color scheme from Maharishi. Immediate left is the Maha version of Boy D from the second series of Crazy children.

To the right are two tee shirts exclusive to Maharishi. The No War tee, far right, was featured on the No War figure, "103 of the Gardeners.

The "Astro" sweatshirt immediate right is also a Maharishi exclusive and was released during the April 6" Gardener premier. For a complete list of Maha and Michael crossover fashion please check the Timeline page.

A crossover of a crossover artist? Maharishi even created an exclusive color scheme of CC #19, Junkie.

Maharishi images courtesy of DP-MHI. Junkie images courtesy of IDN PRO.

From Sony to Girlittlehouse

I mentioned that when Sony picked up the Gardener license, fans of Michael's work were worried the brand would be tarnished by overexposure. Sony is keeping Michael's work low key. The only figures they have commissioned from Michael have been Wee Wee and Wa Wa, to the right. The two were functional cell phone holders yet produced in limited numbers to remain collectable pieces.

Michael picks his projects carefully and doesn't just accept popular trends or brand names. It is evident from his work with Jan Lam, Lazymuthafucka, Santa Inoue's Tokyo Tribe and Sony.

To the left are figures directly from Michael's workshop Crazysmiles Co. From left to right they are Cat and Hatau. They are characters based on a Girlittlehouse stage play. Michael is the art director of the play and has released the figures as promotional items. The girls are rendered in Michael's jagged style. They have no face except for a small depression serving as a mouth.

Despite the simplistic style both girls in the Girlittlehouse line are still formed unlike any other figure. Michael's style will no doubt continue to rub off on his contemporaries as it has already gained the attention of large companies like Sony and Nike.

The Levis Promotion

In 2001 Levis ran an exclusive ad campaign in Asia featuring the work of Michael. To help kick off the promotion Levis commissioned Mini Michael figures wearing Levis-colored jeans to be sold in stores.

In case you didn't notice, this variant of Michael are what the buttons at the bottom of each page are designed after.

Michael himself appeared in a number of promotional items during the campaign, including posters, billboards and cards.

To the left are some of the tee's Michael designed for Levis. On the far left is a variant of his No War slogan. It is difficult to see but the shirt features a cartoon Michael lying on his back with a word balloon reading "No War."

Immediate left is the "Crazysmilevis" tee. You cannot tell but there is a Michael cartoon sketch printed on the inside of the tee just under the label.

Colette Works

The Maharishi studio suggested that Michael have his second European exhibition in 2003 at Colette in Paris. Michael agreed and it would become the studio with a unique look at Michael's crossover projects.

Colette is regarded as one of the premier global spotters of new trends and culture. It is proclaimed to be "the temple of style, design, art & food."

Baby Blue is the house color for Colette. Similar to the way olive is the color for Maharishi.

In 2003 Michael released a Mini Fig and NY Fat (bottom left) in the blue tint.

In 2004 Crazysmiles co. submitted some new art for the Toyz World expo. In keeping with tradition Michael made a special version of BB in a blue tint. This version of BB is said to be extremely rare and not for sale. Michael also made some sort of Urban Mummy version of CC #19 Junkie wrapped in tape and stickers.

Michael designed a tee shirt to help celebrate the return to Colette in 2004. Special thanks to La MJC for the BB and Junkie image.

The Devilman Anniversary

The character pictured left was created by Michael in 2003 for the 30th anniversary of Go Nagai's infamous manga character Devilman.

Go created a number of famous characters in manga and animé history that include Cutey Honey, Mazinger Z, Violence Jack, Kekko Kamen and of course Devilman.

Go's work went on to influence a number of artists both Japanese and international much like his predecessor Osamu Tezuka. Go can arguably be attributed to the creation and popularization of extreme violence and adult acts in manga and animé.

Undoubtedly Go's influence can still be felt in modern manga works by Santa Inoue such as Tokyo Tribe and Neighbor 13.

The Nike Collaborations

Michael has been working on and off with Nike for many years here are some of his largest projects with them.

On September 29, 2006, Nike sponsored the Gardeners meet Nike show. At this event Michael added three new Gardeners to his lineup, Crash F Dummy Gardener 105", Crash M Dummy Gardener 104" and Steve Prefontaine, Gardener 106".

To celebrate the opening of the Hong Kong Nike flagship store all of the Gardeners received new wardrobes, shoes and were posed for running. Several items were placed on sale including the very limited wood-grain NY Fat and Nike SB Low boxed set. A photo book featuring the Gardeners in their new clothes was available as well.

Images courtesy of Victor: Crazytoyz 0709.

Nike Pro (Figures)

On July 23, 2007, Michael released three of his largest figures ever. Standing at 20-inches tall and covered in actual Nike-fit material, the three athletes represented were Roger Federer, Ronaldinho and Kobe Bryant. These athletes could be argued as the very best in the world in their respective professions.

The figures were created to raise money for childrens' charity Arc En Ciel (rainbow) which provides books, toys and athletic supplies for children with disabilities.

Images courtesy of Freshnessmag.com.

Nike BMX China Federation

In preparation for the 2008 Olympics in China, Michael was asked by Nike to design team uniforms and shoes for the Chinese BMX team. This was the first year that BMX was introduced to the games and Michael proudly took up the cause. A formal presentaiton happened on May 17, 2008 where Michael also released a boxed set featuring a BMX figure, small four-legged bicycle and yellow Nike Blazers in the actual team uniform colors. The box itself was in vinyl and patterened after a Nike shoe box, only covered in mud with tire tracks crossing it. It is a rare item that many die-hard Michael Lau fans have sought out.

Image courtesy of Hypebeast.

Air Crazy Force 1

On November 29-30, 2008 Nike and Michael teamed up again. This time to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Air Force 1 shoe. Nike contacted 18 designers from around the world to help create custom shoes and then released those shoes exclusively in the artist's home town. This collaboration was known as the 1World AF1Project.

Michael was the 9th artist participating, he created the "Air Crazy Force 1" with his choice of white padded leather, quilt stiching, gold scrawls on the inside and out, white sole insert with pencil scribble art and polished shoelace tags with the words "Crazy" on the left foot and "Smiles" on the right.

The shoes included a "Crazy Michael" figure whom was complete with a straight jacket and crazed expression unlike any figure he had done before. The set was priced at $2599 HKD / $335 USD. The premier was held from Nov 29-30 at michael gallery, any remaining editions would be available at NikeSportswear in HK on Dec 3, 2008. However all were sold out by Nov. 30th.

On November 30, during the second day of the Air Crazy Force 1 show Michael released 25 color variants of the crazy michael figure. These were limited to 150 pieces with the eyes custom painted by Michael and each one numbered. This day also saw the release of an all black version of Jordon, Gardener 049. This figure was limited to 23 pieces. The all black version of crazy michael was limited to 10 pieces for friends and family only.

The 2006 Football Events

Michael is a big fan of football / soccer. During 2006 he created several football-themed projects, one in honor of the FIFA World Cup. This was a promotion with McDonalds restaurants in Hong Kong. All of the countries participating in the World Cup were represented in food and caricature illustrations by Michael. Patrons could get one free "Fan-tastic FIFA World Cup Card" for every HK$17 they spent at participating McDonalds. There were 33 cards in all, 32 country cards and one Wild Card.

SOGO + Michael Lau

The "BB Football Cup 2006" was held from June 9 through July 9 at participating SOGO department stores. People that spent HK$300 at the store could purchase one of four special-edition BB figures for an additional HK$300.

Each BB was painted in one of four national colors. England (released 6/23/06), France (released 6/9/06), Brazil (released 6/30/06) and Argentina (released 6/20/06).

Football Cup Quarry Bay

A major event during the World Cup season was titled Michael Football Cup Quarry Bay 2006.

Similar to the McDonalds promotion, he created 32 figures for all of the participating countries. The figures were released two countries per package, so it would take 16 sets to complete the lineup.

Each figure was painted in the flag of the participating country and had a cartoon expression painted over the flag. The figures included two footballs in different colors as well.

There was a special one-of-a-kind "Golden Trophy" offered during this event. The Gold Michael Football Cup featured a very fine map of the world drawn over the head of the figure, it was made out of .999 pure gold. There were also gold-colored Michael's in vinyl form.

The only way to get the character was by lucky drawing. Some of the Quarry Bay 2006 boxes contained an extra golden ball with a number written on it. Whomever got this ball would recieve a vinyl version of the gold figure on July 8. That same day, those "finalists" would be entered in a drawing for the actual gold version.

Images courtesy of Victor: Crazytoyz 0709.

cs booth 12

Michael celebrated cs booth 12 on September 23-25. It was the final football theme for the year. The event featured a showdown of sorts with Lamdog Football against crazysmiles football.

The first day of the event people could purchase one of three Lamball figures. They were available in 3 colors, White, Black, and Brown. Fans could also purchase the GardenTribe 007 Hashsquaremo figure. Fans could also pre-order the Lam Dog Football Deluxe sets because they would not be ready until December.

From left to right the Lam Dog Team consisted of: Lam Coach, Watermelon Ball, Twist Ball, No Air Ball, Lam Ball, Baby Ball, Speed Ball, Shit Ball, Burst Ball, Dead Whistle and Banana Ball. Images courtesy of George with ToyBreak.
The Lam Dog team was a rag-tag group of snaggletoothed football players. Tall, skinny, oblong and obtuse. Every shape and color played the game. Whereas the Michael side consisted of the familiar Quarry Bay Cup players. Professionals no doubt! The michael's were set with monotone scowls and kits and were made available for pre-order on the second day of cs booth 12. The deluxe set included a whistle.

What made the deluxe sets unique was that each character came with a small vinyl pitch. These squares of land were magnitized on the edges so that they could be placed side by side to make an entire field. Well, to make half a field really. Half of the field came with Michael's team and half with Lam Dog's team. These fields included a net, ball and ref. A great set for collectors and fans of football.

On the third and final day of cs booth 12 Lam Dog Football Hooligan 094 (Four Guilty Gardener 474) and Crazysmiles Football Hooligan 043 (Young Square) were made available.

Michael also created some Hooligan 043 figures with no face or jersey number on the back. Collectors could give these to Michael for him to customize.

Images courtesy of DP-MHI and Victor CrazyToyz 0709.

Lion Heart meet Michael Lau

Lion Heart is a Japanese jewelry maker. To celebrate the collaboration in 2006 Michael designed three figures, each of which complimented a special piece of jewelry. Images are courtesy of dpmhi. From left to right the figures are: Kizuna Black (with bracelet), Kizuna Red (with Michael pendant) and Kizuna White (with rings).

Images courtesy of DP-MHI.

Terry Richardson & Michael Lau

From November 30 through December 23, 2007 photographer Terry Richardson and Michael Lau held a joint exhibition in the Brave Gallery of Hong Kong. This was to celebrate the release of Terry's new book "From Rio to Hong Kong."

Michael created a few paintings to celebrate the event. He also sculpted a large, nude, Terry figure and small pink Yashica T4 camera. The paintings and sculptures were for sale as were tee shirts with photographs from Richardson or sketches from Michael and a hardbound book, from "Art to Zex," featuring sketches from Michael.

X-Large x FINGERXX x michael

X-Large is a streetwear company. FINGERXX [FingerCroxx] are designer hats from Micahel's friend Wallace. All three names got together in 2007 to make a stellar collaboration. The images below are courtesy of Freshness Magazine. Clockwise from top left the figures are: X-Laugh, FX Buster, Space Finger, FGXX Work, Finger Burger and FX Joe.

Images courtesy of Freshness Mag.

image of fingercross and michael collaboration
FINGERXX x Double-Park x michael x mhi

Street fashion retailer Double-Park celebrated its 10th Anniversary in 2010. Michael and FingerXX teamed up to release TOOBIGFOOT on Sept 11 at the Causway Bay store EX.I.T. The figure was a grey colorway limited to only 499 units. The figure also came with a stackable tree trunk box featuring brand logos on the backside.

Images courtesy of Victor: CrazyToyz 0709.

toobigfoot doublepark
toobigfoot mhi and brown version figures

During the 10th Anniversary of Gardener, also in 2010, Michael released special limited-edition versions of TOOBIGFOOT. An olive and orange figure exlusive to Maharishi and a brown version.

Michael also created a special edition of NY Fat andMr. Shoe exclusively for Maharishi during the Gardener 10th celebration.

Images courtesy of Victor: CrazyToyz 0709.

special edition maharishi version of ny fat, mr shoe and toobigfoot

Giordano x Michael Lau

In June of 2008 Giordano had a tee shirt project featuring 12 artists from all over the world. The theme was a "World Without Strangers." This was Michael's design. The shirts sold for HK$190.

Images courtesy of Victor: CrazyToyz 0709.


cs booth 15 saw what could be argued as the greatest mashup of figure art in the vinyl world. The MFJK boxed set was an homage to the artists that are Michael's friends and his influences. Plus is combines the things he loves in timekeeping devices. The initials stand for Michael Lau, Futura, James Jarvis and KAWS. A piece of each character was based on their work. The watch that accompanied the figures was the SUBMILGAYTONA, like the figures, it was pieced together from different watch elements.

Each of the 300 sets released were unique with no two exactly alike. Michael signed and numbered every figure to add a layer of exclusivity.

Images courtesy of Ningyoushi's Workshop.

Working with MINDstyle

MINDstyle is a designer toy distributor and producer. They worked with Michael to create a figure exclusive to their club. This variation of Future and Womax was not available for sale but only for members.

The figures are Michael Lau M077 x MINDstyle and Michael Lau M076 x MINDstyle respectively.

Michael worked on a special version of TwoThree (the Jordan character) for club members. These light jersey versions with the word MINDstyle replacing the Washington Wizards logo were produced in very small numbers and rare to see in shops.

2009 turned out to be a very busy year for the MINDstyle collaborations. The "White is the new Black" crossovers with Michael continued with a special boxed set of the SK3 figures. All of the figures were in a matching light tones.

A white camouflage version of Snake Square, with a matching white crocodile helmet, labeled S007 was also produced for MINDstyle in 2009.
2009 saw Michael work on a couple of collaborations with MINDstyle and Paramount pictures.

A very unique marionette version of the Godfather released in the summer of 2009.

For the dedicated collector, Michael and MINDstyle collaborated for three rarer versions of the Godfather figure. A seated Godfather, the "HorseHead" and a white suit marionette version.

Michael was also asked to add his style to a model of the famous science fiction ship, Enterprise, for the promotion of a new Star Trek film. Michael joined several famous artists for the project, their work can be seen online.

All images courtesy of Victor: CrazyToyz 0709, MINDstyle and Paramout Pictures Licensing.

MINDstyle and Michael at the Gardener 10th Anniversary

One of the many special limited edition items released in Los Angeles for the Gardener 10th celebration was a variation of the colectable Sublimigaytona watch with a new figure named M.L.M.D. Each set ws hand numbered and signed by Lau and limited to only 109 pieces worldwide, in celebration of his 109 Gardeners.

The M.L.M.D. figure was inspired by different parts of the watch: the left and right eyes were the "12" and "1" hour graphic on the dial, the nose was the second arm, the mouth was the alternate hour graphic on the dial, the left arm was the hour arm, the right arm was the minute arm, the left and right feet were the top and bottom wristband, the right shoe was from the "4" hour graphic on the dial, the head and figure was Michael Lau, the crown was for MINDstyle, the cross pattern on the body and color version was for De La Barracuda

The set included a Not For Sale (N.F.S.), purple and gold "Champions" LA Fat figure. They were available at De La Barracuda with limited sets being released each day of the exhibition. Each signed and numbered box set and rare LA Fat figure was priced at USD $495.00.

In 2010 Michael released a multi-colored version of the Godfather Horse Head variant at the Family Tradition Art Exhibition. This collection was called the "Horse Head Invasion."
image from the horse head invasion

Juno x SoftHard x Michael

On November 15, 2008 Silly Things released a box set of the JUNO x SOFTHARD musical collaboration. This boxed set celebrated the release of the "Lam Man Lone" music video. and included a DVD, stickers and making-of book featuring the musicians JUNO and SoftHard plus the art of designer Pat Lee as well as the figures created by Michael.

The set cost $2380 HKD / $307 US when released.

the guitar that michael lau painted
Gibson Guitars x Michael Lau

At the 2010 Art Assault several artists were invited to contribute a design on a Gibson guitar. Michael presented an all-white version of the guitar in the Miami Art District.

Almost Normal x Michael

Almost Normal is a jewelry and watch brand created by Florance Yip (Mrs. Lau) since 2009. The name of the watch set is "270 degrees", a reference to the brand symbol, the owl, which can actually rotate its head to 270 degrees. The set included a watch created by Florance, a small heart and an exclusive 6" Owl by Michael Lau in a black owl-shaped box. The sets were available at Colette. Limited edition of 79 pieces in the world for the Silver and Gold, and 39 pieces for the Pink gold colorway priced at $400 USD, minus shipping.

Images courtesy of Victor: CrazyToyz 0709.

the almost normal collection by florance and michael

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