6-inch Gardeners

The first and second 6-inch Gardeners (Tatto) were shown and sold at 1999 the Michael Lau Exhibition III-crazysmiles: Hong Kong-art center.

These figures were slightly thinner and taller than the following versions of the 6" Gardeners, in fact Tatto was redone altogether.

It would take Michael 2 years before the next 6" character was available but the basis for his collectable Gardeners began here. 1000 figures of the original Tatto were produced, but only 500 of the original Lazy Tatto were produced.

FYI: Tatto was labeled "Tatoo" back then.

Michael's next generation of 6" Gardeners would premier at the Michael Lau Exhibition III-crazysmiles: at PARCO in Japan. They would be sold exclusively at galleries as the exhibition moved through these cities: Shibuya, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Hiroshima and Osaka.

As you can tell Tatto had evolved somewhat since his first incarnation. Both versions of Tatto were available to collectors that frequented the galleries. It is my understanding that equal numbers of both Tattos were produced for the presentations.

Brian in 6" form made his debut during the Japanese exhibitions. As you can see, both Tatto and Brian came with hats that fitted them perfectly, real metal earrings, chain wallets and bracelets.

Around the same time Michael was also introducing the original generation of Crazychildren. With the premier of the 6" Gardeners and Crazychildren coming off the heels of a successful Tom Kids launch Michael was scheduled to change the publics perception of what art was, what toys were and what collectables could be.

The monotone or grayscale figures that Michael would go on to produce also premiered in Japan. These special editions of Tatto and Brian are supposed to have been produced in smaller numbers that the original or Lazy color schemes of the first.

Note that Brian has PARCO tattooed across his belly in this color scheme instead of BRIAN.

Michael was not ignoring his fans in Hong Kong. 2001 also the saw the introduction of Davy and MC Yan from LMF. To the right are the two color-scheme versions of MC Yan.

Although MC Yan was not one of the original Gardeners, his Lazy Yan Edition at the HK Toycon does qualify as one.

It could be argued that 2001 was the breakout year for Michael. His exposure in Japan greatly helped his name gain international presence.

Michael also published a book of all 101" Gardeners in 2001. The book printed to-scale images of the original 101" Gardeners.

This book was part of a set which included a version of Maxx, pictured right (image from XL-shop.com), a CD-ROM and special plastic case.

There was a monotone and lazy edition of Maxx available to collectors in addition to the traditional colored Maxx. Lazy Maxx was a Japanese exclusive limited to just 1000 pieces.

Projects quickly piled up for Michael and it would be another 2 years before Michael could return to the 6" Gardeners.

From one of his last Gardeners, Davy on the immediate right, to his NY Fat figure which debuted in London at the Maharishi presentation. It would be almost 2 years to the day.

The NY Fat presented on the far right is the HK Toycon Edition, which came out a few months after the London and Paris exhibitions.

Beginning 2004 Michael began a new venture with a friend that opened a gallery titled SIXS (after the 6"size in Michael's collectable work) in Hong Kong.

The SIXS gallery is the exclusive seller of Michael's work in Asia and to help celebrate the opening Michael released six 6" Gardeners. Michael quickly followed up by promising that over the course of three years he would release all 103" Gardeners in a 6" form. This delighted and horrified collectors as the figures are rare and limited, but will also be expensive and released over a long time frame.

To the right, from left to right are; Square and Miss

The 6" Gardener figures are not scheduled to be released in the same order as their 12" counterparts. Respectively Square was #7 and Miss was #2 of the 103" original Gardeners.

To the left are Young Miss and Box C. If you have seen the original Gardeners in person or in Michael's art book then you should note that the smaller figures preserve the same detail and presentation of their larger forms. Miss has a pile of unruly hair and Box C was "sagging" in their respective 12" forms.

To the right are Lazy XXX and Young Square. "Lazy" versions of the Gardeners as well as LMF members that also existed in the original lineup are also scheduled to be released.

Many of the new 6" Gardeners come with extra hands in different positions. In this way collectors can change the style of the character slightly.

The pictures of the Gardeners on this page are not relative to height, there are variations in height for all of the new 6" Gardeners.

Six figures were released in the April 2004 special event at the SIXS gallery, the METEROOM gallery in Japan and the maharishi store in London. These figures were released two at a time each day from April 9th-11th. Each store also provided special raffles, give-aways and surprises for attendees.

On April 9th Michael released Lazy Square (far left) and BB. BB's dog costume was made of felt.

At the SIXS gallery 6" unpainted sample versions of Young Miss, Lazy XXX, Miss, Young Square and Box C were auctioned off to collectors. The highest price for a the figures was in the neighborhood of $4000 HK Dollars or about $520 US per.

Young BB (immediate right) and B/W were released on April 10.

Michael displayed his original Tatto figures (top of this page) at the SIXS gallery during the April Gardener release. These figures were part of a 5th anniversary celebration for the original 6" Gardener.

Contrary to rumors he did not re-release or sell these figures. One fan got Michael's autograph on the figure he had brought, Michael only displayed the other two.

On April 11th Michael released Young B/W and Box B. Each of the new Gardeners comes with a card depicting the full-size Gardener the 6" version is based on. Since cards were not issued with the previous six 6" characters, each of the new Gardeners comes with two cards, one of theirs and one of the previous 6" characters'.

Thanks to DP-MHI and Ningyoushi's Workshop for the 6" Gardener images on this page.

August 20 - 22, 2004 was the next 6" Gardener release event. On Friday the 20th Michael released Box A, Stereo and introduced the Undelivery CC figures (not pictured here).

The August event saw both the release of new Gardeners as well as the conclusion of the third generation of Crazy Children. Michael released a S.F.C.C. book as well as new colors of his mini figure for the METEROOM release in Japan.

On Saturday the 21st Michael released Fatwest and Lazy B/W.
On Sunday the 22nd Michael released Young Fatwest and Guilty Gardener - 474.

All of the August Gardener images courtesy of DP-MHI.

At the last SIXS gallery show, from Sept. 29 (my brother's b-day) to October 30th 2004, Michael released a limited edition BB figure presented in black and gray to help celebrate the six year anniversary of the original Gardener exhibition.

This version of BB is very rare and comes with some special items as a collectors set. These items include a black felt mini Michael, collectors cards, postcards depicting the original Gardener images and a poster. The packaging itself also features the same felt material.

Images courtesy of DP-MHI.

During December 10-12, 2004 Michael released some new Gardeners, including a redesigned MC Yan and limited-edition MHI Gardener variations.

To the right are Mono (the brother of Stereo) and Lazy Yan. Collectors wondered if Michael would redesign previous 6 "Gardeners and the new Lazy Yan settled that question.

Images courtesy of Juuan.

Lazy Fatwest was released as well as a S.F.B.B. tee shirt. The tee shirt included a special-color Mini Michael.

Images courtesy DP-MHI.

Collectors anticipated the release of six new Gardeners in the month of December. Michael surprised everyone by instead releasing special versions of Square and Miss wearing Maharishi clothes. These figures also came with MHI hats but what really made them unique was their ability to stand on their heads.

Images courtesy DP-MHI.

During csbooth 11 Michael released three new figures on three consecutive days as he had done before. His first new 6" Gardener was Eyer, the brother and sister Gardener on Friday May 20, 2005.

Despite being two figures joined at the arm this figure only cost a little more than a single figure. The same day Michael released the Mr. Shoe figure and a special olive green version called the michaelrishi variant.

The 20th also saw the release of the NY Fat Casio G-Shock watch and mini Michael figure.

Images courtesy of DP-MHI.

On Saturday May 21, 2005 Michael released Box D and three Mr. Shoe variants (pictured below).

Image courtesy DP-MHI.

On Sunday May 22, 2005 Michael released a special colored version of NY Fat celebrating the G-Shock release, Guilty Gardener - 448 and three more Mr. Shoe variants (pictured below).

Images courtesy DP-MHI.

All About Mr. Shoe

During csbooth 11 Michael released Mr. Shoe and several variants of Mr. Shoe. It is likely that Mr. Shoe was inspired by the "Mr. Ball and Big Foot" figures he designed for the T90 Nike Exhibition. On the left is the michaelrishi variant of Mr. Shoe.

Images courtesy of DP-MHI.

On the right are two of the special color variants of Mr. Shoe. The orange figure is the DPM version and the red one is called "A Boring Red" variant.

Below from left to right, Sample II, Sample OO, Sample XX and Sample Smile. These are the Mr. Shoe samples released during csbooth 11.

Images courtesy of DP-MHI.

Eight figures were released for the csbooth 13 presentation on December 16, 2006. The show was titled "3300". The numbers sound big but were actually variations of three figures, each one slightly rarer than the last.

The Gardeners released were 077 Womax and 076 Future.

A special limited-edition version of Future and Womax were also made for Maharishi. These figures had heads, arms and legs styled like the figures of artist Futura. A jet-black version of these figures were made in a limited run for MINDstyle as well.
The most unique figures of the show were the Off World Creatures. These figures were based on the infamous Pascagoula alien.

Each of the four figures had a unique color scheme and featured a different head underneath the alien head. The figures were co-produced by Prodip.

Images courtesy of DP-MHI.

On December 6, 2007 csbooth 14 saw the release of six more Gardeners. The release included the original, lazy or young versions of the characters.

Prodig, Gardener 006 and Young Prodig, Gardener 042 are pictured right, respectively.

Fan-favorite DJ Tommy also saw his figure released. DJ Tommy, Gardener 074 and Lazy DJ Tommy 068 are pictured left, respectively.
A special version of DJ Tommy was released, looking very much like a panda bear indeed!

Lazy Prodig, Gardener 058 was also released at this event.

Images courtesy of DP-MHI.

On July 5 and 6th, 2008 the michael gallery hosted csbooth 15. This event saw the release of three specially-dressed Gardeners as an homage to the late movie director Stanley Kubric.

The figures were released as part of a collection "SK3" or sold individually. The characters were B/W as Black / White / Orange, an homage to A Clockwork Orange. BB as 2bb1, an homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey. And Fat West Jacket, an homage to Full Metal Jacket.

One of my favorite 12" Gardeners finally got the 6" treatment. Gardener 049 Jordon towers over the previous Gardeners as the original figure did.

A special limited-edition variant was also released. This figure, named twothree came wearing a Bulls jersey instead of one reading 49. 23 is of course the jersey number of Michael Jordan.

Because of a monsoon the csbooth15 show was postponed and moved to August 30 as csbooth 15.5. An even rarer version of Michael Jordon wearing a white jersey was released then.

Images courtesy of Ningyoushi's Workshop and Victor CrazyToyz 0709.

On March 22 and 23rd, 2009 the michael gallery hosted csbooth 16. This event featured the Gardeners dressed up or colored like popular characters.

The new version of Brian, Gardener 004, was released with the "Palmer" tattoo that had appeared on the original Gardener. The special colorway version was inspired by Mike Mignola's famous Hellboy character.

Young Brian, Gardener 040, and Lazy Brian, Gardener 057, were also released at csbooth 16.

Brian's girlfriend, Elsa, was also released in multiple formats at the show. Elsa, Gardener 005 and Young Elsa, Gardener 041. A special colorway version of Elsa with blue hair and yellow skin was done as an homage to Matt Groening's character Marge Simpson from the Simpson's.

Images courtesy of Ningyoushi's Workshop and Victor CrazyToyz 0709.

Videogame fans were in for a treat. A camoflauged version of Square, inspired by Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid, complete with alligator helmet was made available at csbooth 16.

The sets were produced in very small numbers. 250 figures per original design and a ratio of 1 out of every 25 figures was in the special colorway.

The 10th Anniversary

On September 29th 2009 Michael celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Gardeners. The De La Barracuda gallery in Los Angeles hosted the event. This was his first show in the USA and featured a number of new and exclusive releases not to mention several brand new Gardeners!

A Tenth Anniversary book was released along with several 6-inch figures. Some of these figures were only available on certain days thanks to their sponsors. "LA Fat" a wood grain version of NY Fat was released on Tuesday the 29th of September. "Slamxhype" a figure with an S-shaped head, wood grain edition and black edition, was released on Wednesday. "The Hundreds" a figure with bomb-shaped head, wood grain edition, was released on Thursday. "De La Barracuda" a figure with the De La Barracuda logo-shaped head, wood grain edition and black edition, was released on Friday.

On Saturday the 3rd of October Nike released the Nike SB Zoom Stefan Janoski woodgrain pattern sneakers with randomly packed LA Fat figure (larger than 6-inch version). The figure was in one of 10 colors. 10 years... 10 colors.

All images courtesy of the MINDstyle blog.

At the end of 2010 at the Crazy X'Mas, gardener / kindergardener 10th anniversary celebration several of the rarest Mini Gardeners were distributed in a "lucky prize" raffle.

Chief among these rare prizes were an a "Hellbrian" with a right hand of doom from the Hellboy comics and a "Margaret" version of Elsa, complete with the trademark tall blue hair of Marge Simpson. As you can imagine the licensing issues for these figures meant they could only be won rather than sold.

Victor CrazyToyz 0709.

image of hellbrian and margaret
brian and elsa proofs from gardener 10th anniversary

Special "proof" versions of the figures were also given away in lucky draw raffles at the gardener 10th celebration in Hong Kong.

Images courtesy of Victor CrazyToyz 0709.

Click on Michael's back to go to the Gardener Comics page.

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