Where: The Nut, 1147 Kangding Lu near Wuning， 康定路1147号进武宁南路
Starts: Saturday, October 30, 2010 from 8pm onwards
One of the surprise collaborators we managed to score for Haibot Apocalypse 2010 is sculpture artist Mike Loh, who’s been sculpting masks and costumes of robots, cyborgs and other techno-craziness in Shanghai for the last couple of years. Not only will he be lending some of his creations to us for the night to decorate The Nut (including a full on functioning suit from the movie Predator), he’ll also be custom creating a robot arm right in front of us at the party!
While planning out where to put his creations up around The Nut – and seriously guys, these are some insane creations, some of those up in the gallery will actually show up at our party – we chatted about how he got into this business in the first place.
Sculpting masks and giant Predator models for a living seems like kind of an off-beat occupation. When did you start doing it as your job?
In 2008. I was here working for Pepsi Co. at the time, but I was beginning to feel bored doing powerpoints and all that stuff. I figured it would be a good hobby to sculpt things. Forget about bars, graphs, and charts and focus my negative emotions onto something creative.
You had previous experience with sculpture before though, right?
Well, I’ve been an artist my whole life. I was drawing since I was two years old! I went to art school – the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, and while I was there, I studied illustration and took some sculpture classes. Though drawing was my main strength – I was really into comic books and science fiction, fantasy art.
I was an artist my whole life. So I was drawing since I was two. I went to art school, FIT (NY). I studied Illustration there and took some sculpture classes. Drawing was my main strength. I was into comic books and scifi/fantasy…
I’ve noticed your art seems to center around that whole scifi theme
Yeah, I’m really into character designs. Especially superheros and especially weird guys with masks. I am obsessed with masks.
And the Predator movies?
It was a turning point in my life; it happened when I was ten years old. My god brother (may he rest in peace) in Malaysia brought me into the theater to watch Predator. It was really scary, and I kept on ducking down and hiding my eyes during the more gruesome parts… but that movie had a huge influence on me. I thought it was so cool, and it’s colored my work since.
Technically, I built my first predator mask in High School. It was great – I made it out of plaster cast and completely depleted the supply of plaster bandages at the school, actually. Luckily my teacher liked me, told me to go nuts, go crazy.
But despite that, you didn’t really get into it until recently?
After I came to china, I did a lot of advertising work. Designing toys and inflatables for a couple of years. But then I got tired of all that. I then did three years at Pepsi, my contract was over, and I decided now or never to pursue my dream.
Who do you sell these kinds of things to?
Mostly collectors. Everything’s made by me so they can get things custom made. I’m currently working on a full-on female predator suit for this one couple who was out in Iraq. They’re both fans of the movie and they approached me to help them make one.
So what are you bringing to the show?
There will be 20 or so custom masks, including one of my favorite works: The Four Horsemen… Four Predators of death, famine, plague and war. They’ll be the aliens that bring the apocalypse!
I also plan to make some prosthetics that people can actually wear. Eye pieces like robot goggles and arm prosthetics, things like that.
In fact, for the live show, I’ll be constructing an actual robot arm at the show. It’ll give people a chance to see how I work, to see how these really cool pieces come about.
I think one really interesting theme is the transition period between now and the age of robots. I think there will be a lot of blending between technology and robots before they take over. That’s where this idea of the cyborg comes from… and it’s great to be able to imagine them into real life objects.
For more information about Michael Loh, check out his personal website.