Japan’s Winter Wonderfest Feb 24th, 2008 Booth C02-07

I’m getting ready for my semi annual trip to Japan. This time the family stays back much to the disappointed of mini Me, Max … I promised to take him next time 😉 But of course I have a long list of toys i need to look for him.. most important is a stop to the Pokemon center.. last time I was there it was pure chaos as it was a holiday and several hundred kids crammed into this building all in a buying frenzy .. including Max … so this time I think it will a bit more calm as it is not a holiday but i do have to look for some 50 odd Pokemon figures.. I can actually recognize them and do have some favs like Jiggly Puff and Sudo Woodo ( spelling ? ) anyways I know what they look like … it’s unfortunate or is that fortunate that I have past on the collecting gene to Max. I think we’ll need another building to house his collections .. they are spilling into the hallway and even the toilet ( sometimes ! ) You do not know the meaning of pain until you step on a Lego Bionicle piece with your barefoot in the middle of the night (!) I can still faintly see the impression..but it made me realize that these toys will be his memories and those of his friends… someday they will go in search of that toy or toys that they had or didn’t buy. But I guess the question is will it be like the toys i collect.. in terms of value and rarity? It will be interesting to see what the future holds for these guys. Anyways should be fun going to Japan, looking for that Ultraman figure I do not have.. and just hanging out in general. I can’t believe this is like the 8th or 9th trip for me .. and I still can’t speak Japanese 😉 Oh well thank goodness for good friends to help out… I’m glad to be traveling with Carlos Enriquez, his first trip to Japan! Ah, I can remember the first time.. I was sick right off the plane and my head was in a fog most of the trip.. but going to the first toy store was awesome ! Now that i think of it, back in 2001 we actually were witness to the end of the toy store boom… now most of those stores we went to are gone.. mostly because of the economy and Yahoo Japan.
Sniff.. well time marches on … Anyhow back to work here’s a few figures I painted to sell at the show, Boy Karma and Alien Eyezon. Each will be very limited but i will offer them to current Max toy Club members. Will post more pics from my travels upon my return.

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.”
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