Toy Karma Show Opens in Chicago !

It was a picture perfect night in Chicago for the opening of Toy Karma at Rotofugi. A historic event bring together artists and toy companies from Japan, USA and South America in celebration of the Japanese Kaiju Toy. 200 plus toy and art collectors packed both Rotofugi locations and quickly purchased exclusives and gallery work. My family and I arrived several days earlier to Chicago. After months of planning the end was nearly in sight 😉 Thanks to Kirby and Whitney Kerr the owners of Rotofugi, the cataloging of nearly 100+ pieces of toys and art as well as hanging the show was done in record time… well Ok just hours before the show opened ( ha-ha )

It’s hard for me to grasp what was happening on opening night as I was in my usual show daze ( from lack of sleep and worrying about all the details ) but from what I’ve heard folks who had never seen a kaiju or soft vinyl toy before were truely impressed by the wide variety this show covers. Dare I say we may have converted a feel folks to collecting Japanese soft vinyl ?!!! I think we did.. but also I have to say I actually bought some “designer toys” .. yes, Mr Ultraman collector bought some Rolito candy toys 😉 ! I guess this means the end of the world.. designer toys have now melded or melted with Japanese soft vinyl ..ha-ha !.. well if I had an agenda this was it period…. To expose a cross section of the Japanese toy inspired artists to the Designer toy world. I like to think of the group of artists in this show like the Ocean’s 11 movie gang ;-P … you know there has to be a Ocean’s 12 and 13 …. ha-ha ….maybe I change it to Nagata’s 29 ( we had 29 folks in the show ) or something ….anyways we had a great time in Chicago and as always did not have enough time to see everyone .. but we’ll come back, next time as tourists… although I did get to see the Museum of Science and Industry, which by the way was fantastic…. !
So after a years planning the shows up and will be there thru the end of Sept. A few cool pieces can still be gotten so surf over to Rotofugi’s site and see whats left.I can’t even think about the next Toy Karma ( yes another one ! )till this ones over, but for now my attention is on the Beyond Ultraman show in Pasadena , Oct 10th, 2007. I’ll be there on the opening night in another daze I’m sure but at least this show I will not have to set up (ha-ha)

About toykarma

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.”
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s