Tony Le

An Asian actor who doesn’t act his age, and gets asked for ID too often.


Response by Ben Lee

Artist Statement


With this piece, I wanted to capture the chaos of storyteller Tony Le’s fast friendship at a ‘robot cafe’ in Japan. Tony described vivid costumes, high-tech, fire-breathing automatons, and shouting spectators – all of which served as the backdrop for the evolution from acquaintanceship to friendship with his travelling companion.

Tony’s story resonated with me because one of my dearest friendships now formed under similar circumstances while on the road. With this puppet, I wanted to capture the chaos of his story while necessitating the connection between puppeteers in the creature’s operation.

Constructed from a combination of paper-mâché and a homemade ‘cardboard clay’, I was interested in the challenge of realizing the high-tech imagery of Tony’s story in a simplistic, grassroots medium. At its heart, the creature brought to life here comes from the bond – both literal and figurative – between its operators.