Mr. Michael Chow is known not only for his star-studded restaurants, but also as a global cultural icon whose portrait has been captured by the likes of famed artists such as Andy Warhol, Jean Michel Basquiat, and Ed Ruscha.
Chow has had a creative streak since his youth: prior to opening his first restaurant, he worked as a designer of boutiques and restaurants in London. Michael went on to study painting in London at St. Martin’s School of Art, and exhibited in numerous solo and group shows in the late 50s during the Golden Period — working under the pseudonym “Zhou YingHua.”
Chow struggled as a painter in London, turning his attention instead to the restaurant industry. He founded his first restaurant, MR CHOW, in 1968 in London, following a vision to be a cultural ambassador and bridge between the East to the West — and becoming a legendary restauranteur in the process.
Now, about five years ago and after a nearly fifty-year sabbatical from his fine art practice, Chow returned to his passion for painting. In 2015, his solo show “Voice For My Father” exhibited at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, followed by the Power Station Museum in Shanghai, and earlier this year at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.
Chow sat down with IVY Media to discuss his artistic journey and his sources of inspiration, sharing his perspective on the creative intersection of business, art, and life — and the role of art as a necessary counterpart to violence, peril, and destruction across the globe.
Learn more about Chow’s fascinating journey from artist to restauranteur and back in Chow’s recent book, Michael Chow: Voice for My Father.