Born in Vancouver in 1974, Tobi Wong moved to New York to study art and become an artist and a designer. His conceptual art pieces borrow forms and ideas from contemporary industrial design and luxury objects. The presentation of his work in the context of design stores and industry magazines challenges his audience and criticizes the consumer products of his generation.
Wong studied art at Cooper Union School of Art where he graduated in sculpture. While in school he became known for his personal style and his clear message, not to mention the infamous neon sign in his East Village apartment window. Typical for his early work are installations with a large number of the same industrial product which he would stack or assemble to create architectural shapes. Other presentations are more conceptual and question the meaning of how we consume or what we consume today. In collaboration with the designer Philipp Mohr he created the "hidden diamond ring" which features a diamond on the inside of a wedding band. Together with Ken Courtney of Ju$t Another Rich Kid he launched a collection of luxury products cast in gold. One of his most acclaimed designs is his "ballistic rose", a rose pin made of black bullet proof material. It has been included in the design collection at MoMA.
In 2004, the dormant Saarinen-designed TWA Flight Center (now Jetblue Terminal 5) at JFK Airport briefly hosted an art exhibition called Terminal 5 curated by Rachel K. Ward and featuring the work of 18 artists including Tobi Wong. The show featured work, lectures and temporary installations drawing inspiration from the idea of travel — and the terminal's architecture. The show was to run from October 1 2004 to January 31, 2005 — though it closed abruptly after the building itself was vandalized during the opening party.
In 2007 Wong arranged for a colleague to assume his identity for a presentation at Core77's Offsite speaker series. Rama Chorpash, designer and Chair of the Undergraduate Industrial Design Department at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, stayed in character throughout the presentation and during a subsequent question and answer period. The ruse is consistent with Wong's subversive design oeuvre.