Born in Kuala Lumpur in 1961 into a creative environment, Richard Lau grew up surrounded by artists and art in one form or another. Richard decided to escape this environment and pursue a course in humanities in England only to discover much later that his real interest was in art. Upon returning to KL, Richard worked as a set-builder, prop-maker & designer and has also worked as an art director for film, TV and theatre. His interest in art was revived when he came across raw art (Art Brut) whilst abroad which resonated with his own interest in working with found objects and recycling materials.
Richard currently lectures on Production Design at the Film Department, ASWARA.
(My Mother Made Me Do it!)
From an early age we were encouraged to be scavengers —that’s one way of looking at it! Another way is to say that we were encouraged to look at mundane objects from a different perspective.
There’s nothing quite like finding interesting junk by the roadside. The challenge of seeing the potential in discards sets the creative juices flowing. There are a few drawbacks — namely the objects chosen have to be cleaned so that they don’t smell or rot. Also if you get carried away and can’t resist the impulse to collect, your house becomes a garbage dump.
Some objects resist reinvention and it can be frustrating to figure out how to shape and join materials which are reluctant to co-operate. However never accept the philosophy of ‘once a plastic bag always a plastic bag’.
We are surrounded by piles of discards and the possibilities of working with scrap are endless. The exhilaration and challenge is great and the best thing is the materials are free!
The Headlights are made from assorted recycled plastic shopping bags (PPE,PEP, etc) fused together. The process is called fusing (layers of plastic bags are melted together with a hot iron) and the end result is a tough fused plastic sheet that can diffuse light if it is made with clear or light-coloured plastic.