Miami Beach Kaiju Monster Invasion December 2008


from left to right: Jeremy Chestler, director of South Florida Art Center, James Levy collector, artist and collector Mark Nagata, and curator Harold Golen in front of the show stopping fiberglass 14 foot tall Darklon by Carlos Enriquez Gonzalez.
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It was my first time in Miami Beach, Florida. The last time I was in Florida was to see Disney World and that was some 17 years ago !! But time was to attend the Kaiju Monster Invasion art show and also to see some of the many Art Basel events going on at the same time. It was clear form the newspaper headlines that because of the economy the expected multi million dollar deals the Fine art world has been use to at Art Basel was not going to happen. Still us artists have to keep pushing forward and stay positive .. my main purpose of attending besides supporting the South Florida Art Center and a long time Florida collector was to further spread the word on Japanese toys and the history behind them. As you will see in this report I think to that end we hit a homerun ….
Leaving the cold foggy days of San Francisco we landed late at night and leaving the airport were hit with a moist blast of 70 degree heat !

The Art Deco San Juan hotel our base and some of the more swanky hotels across the street 😉

I got a sense this district is in the middle of a revival with portions of blocks bordered up or for lease, while a few doors down an old Art Deco building is being gutted and redone. The show itself is held at the South Florida Art Center, on Linclon Road, which is a very trendy street with good eats. Here are pictures of the various large windows surrounding the Center …Max at the front doors….


Very impressive soft vinyl display from super collector James Levy ! over 200 figures in this massive window, at night the bottom part has a black light so all the glow in the dark figures glow !Really nicely done and I have to say I over heard a lot of positive comments about this window .. from folks who have never seen figures like this … He will do a talk on Japanese toys next week at the Art Center sponsored by the Japanese Consulate of Miami.

Iron Molds and sample Capt Maxx pulls in display showing the vinyl process ….

Marusan of Japan allowed use of this classic photo from the Marusan factory back in the 1960’s….

Large picture of Goto-san painting a toy… Goto-san is a master toy painter in Japan and has been at is for over 40 years, picture courtesy of Toy Punks …

this large sized fiberglass Matango is called Pink Matango meets Pink Panther ( ha-ha )
above, nice banner sized fine art print from Carlos Enriquez Gonzalez …

over view of the main gallery space…

and random shots of the wide array of artwork, sculptures for sale.












and than the night of the show with the artists signing …




really nice turn out and had the pleasure of talking with many new and long time collectors…
the next day we took a Duck Tour of Miami Beach … thats a vehicle that goes on the road and on the water .. saw Richie Rich homes like this one …

also was able to check out a few Art Basel shows .. really too many shows to see, but gave me a good feeling of what the event is all about. The local paper said most dealers felt the buying was down quite a bit , so no doubt the economic crisis is taking it’s toll on the art scene…but still the folks who came to this show were amazed and awed by these Japanese toys and by the wonderful artwork on show.. so i feel the show accomplished this and showed the Southeast of the US what Kaiju is about.

and on the final night I was there there was an electronica music show with a kaiju battle performance to end the night ! My only blurry shot of the battle 😉
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The show will run thru the first week of January 2009, so you still have time to purchase art and show exclusives ( nice glow Damnedron Rumble Monsters exclusive, Dream Rockets exclusives and StrangeCo Jim Woodring exclusive and more ! ) I believe all these items will be available from Haroldgolengallery.com, so go over there to request prices etc .
Thanks to all who came out to the show and for the kind words and support and to the talented artists I met.

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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