.. I knew adding this Blog to my plate would be too much ! anyways, I’m much better at updating the Max Toy Company site…but thought i would try to get in the habit of at least posting some thoughts here.. well at least thats the intent. It continues to be a crazy time here in toyland, thats for sure. I get this feeling that all the little companies in Japan are getting more and more popular with American collectors. It’s cool to see all these “young” pups producing there versions of Bullamrk toys. From my stand point it’s a bit surreal to actually sell my toys in Japan. I haven’t been back since my Captain Maxx started selling in Japan.. so when i do go back it will be interesting to see what they think of this made up character ( or is he real ? ) Really the Capt Maxx project is purely for fun.. in a selfish way, I don’t care if it sells or not.. I just wanted to do something that came from my imagination. So no licensing or group discussions about what it should be or look like… just a simple homage to Ultraman, Mirrorman and Spectreman characters.. plus having Max add his 2 cents is always priceless( daddy put a star on his belt ! ). We’re almost ending our first year here at Max Toy Co., boy it’s been like a shot out of cannon..in a good way ! Really I could hire someone to help me its so busy.. but have to keep true to what I want this to be…which is a hands on one man show ( Ok, counting Anna and Max, a family show ) I’m still surprised when we actually get orders or even sell out of some toys…really very cool and as always the collectors are the ones that make or break us small companies. So with that whats up for the rest of this year and into next year ? Well we have Bwana Spoons Edward the Gator coming, Alien Xam in his full size form is coming ( really ! ) and with fingers crossed I’m hoping before Christmas.So if those two projects drop than it will be busy. Also have 2-3 more retailer exclusives in the works as well.
Coming up in 2007, we have at least 3 licensed projects pending, as well as more kaiju for Capt Maxx to battle. Convention front, we will most likely be at Wonder Con in San Francisco ( I think March 2-4, 2007 ) , plus of course the BIG ONE, Comic Con.. we’ll be sharing an end cap booth with Gargamel of Japan ( lot’s of goodies already in the planning for this. Later in 2007, I’ll be in a group artshow in Pasadena called From Ultrman to Ultra Cool ” go here for more info:
and also working on another group show hopefully for late August, early Sept.. we’ll see how this evolves… I’m falling behind on painting, so it will be a challange to keep up the pace. Also, Max has a ton of homework now.. I’m amazed that he can do simple word math problems.. in 3rd grade ! I think I was still finger painting in 3rd grade ! Oh well .. thats progress I guess. Time to get back to folding header cards and painting more….
Over the years Mark Nagata has collected thousands of toys and a fair amount of titles. The man behind San Francisco-based Max Toy Company is widely known as: Toy Collector. Illustrator. Magazine Founder/Publisher. Toy Designer. Artist. Author. Husband. Father. But the one description that might fit best is an unofficial one – Kaiju Toy and Art Ambassador.
In the Japanese-inspired art and toy area, as well as throughout the larger toy collecting community, Mark is welcomed and recognized for his personal passion and commitment to supporting artists all around the world and the unique works they create. Beginning as a collector in his youth, Mark has had for years a keen eye for great art and a personal interest in collecting that he has spread through a variety of outlets.
Trained at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, Mark honed his skills working for himself and for some of the most notable businesses in the country. As a freelance commercial illustrator, he completed works for such prominent companies as Lucasfilms, DC Comics, Hasbro Toys, IBM, Sony, and numerous advertising and design firms, both national and international. Mark’s colorful style graces over 40 cover paintings for R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps book series – Give Yourself Goosebumps.
After hundreds of assignments, Mark made the decision to move in another direction, and that choice has led to whole new career as a successful businessman. For four years, the owner of one of the largest Ultraman toy collections in the world co-published Super 7 Magazine showcasing the finest in Japanese toy collecting.
“I’d been collecting Japanese toys all along and suddenly realized it would be cool to have a magazine of some type devoted to them,” Nagata says.
Mark’s devotion to presenting collectors with a selection of original figures inspired by classic Japanese toys from the 1960s and ‘70s as well as new versions of licensed Japanese characters is at the heart of Max Toy Company. Named for his son, Max Toys specializes in custom and limited editions of “kaiju” (Japanese monsters) toys and artwork. Many of the original toys produced are hand painted by Mark, a tradition that goes back to Japanese toy makers of the past.
“Since our target is the soft vinyl Japanese toy collector, which is a very small niche, our runs of toys can be extremely small,” Mark says. “Runs range from 500 pieces of one toy to just one for a hand-painted, one-of-a-kind custom figure.”
Through Max Toys, Mark has taken great pains to widen the reach of his two passions – toys and art. He played a significant part in the development of the first group kaiju show in the United States. Held at the Rotofugi Gallery in Chicago, Illinois in 2007, the “Toy Karma” Show featured detailed work from artists from Japan, the U.S. and South America. Participants marveled at the custom-painted toys and art on display. “Toy Karma” led to Mark being asked to be one of the artists spotlighted in the “Beyond Ultraman: Seven Artists Explore the Vinyl Frontier” exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. The October 2007 show, held jointly with the Los Angeles Toy, Doll and Amusement Museum, marked the first time – in a museum setting – that the influence of Japanese toys on California artists was explored. The exhibit featured more than 30 of Mark’s original paintings, toys and a selection of his vintage toy collection.
Mark continued to be at the forefront as interest in Japanese-inspired art and toys expanded in 2008. Prestigious art houses Philips De Pury and Christie’s in New York and London sold Mark’s hand-painted custom kaiju toys in its auctions, spreading this unique art and toy movement into new and uncharted areas of the art world.
In 2009, Mark once again took his love of toys and art overseas this time to a receptive and welcoming audience in Tokyo, Japan. Here, Mark curated the “Kaiju Comrades” Art Show, once again bringing together artists from various aspects of the kaiju toy realm in this first-of-its-kind toy art show. The following year found Mark in Barcelona, Spain co-curating with Emilio Garcia “Kaiju Attack,” the European country’s first kaiju art show.
As the growth of kaiju art and toys increases worldwide, Mark continues in his unofficial role of Kaiju Toy and Art Ambassador. He has written and had his artwork and toy designs included in several books and magazines, both domestic and international. In 2010, Mark served as guest lecturer on kaiju and the toy-making process at the Morikami Museum in Florida. The San Francisco resident and his art can also be spotted in the first volume of the “ToyPunks” DVD and the “Toys R Us” DVD, while the video for the number one song by Owl City “Fireflies” featured Mark’s popular Kaiju Eyezon character. During this same time period, Mark has spearheaded the “Toy Karma 2” and “Kaiju Comrades 2” shows and has plans for future shows both in the U.S. and overseas.
“Max Toys allows me to produce original artwork, new toys and work directly with a lot of talented artists,” Mark says. “Max Toy is a synthesis of toys and art, both life-long passions.”
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