Kaiju Comrades Art Show , Tokyo Japan part 5

above Max Nagata and his sculpt of Captain Maxx !

Part 5 – Hmmmm, where did I leave off ?!! Like being in Japan I was always a day off, thinking it was Saturday when it was Sunday 😉 Well, Sunday came and we though we’d be slow, but again every hour a new wave of curious and friends would stop by to see the show. One thing I noticed was just about everyone was taking pictures with their phones .. like non stop … ! Where these pictures would end up is anybodys guess .. one guy had a paper with these tiny drawings of almost all the exclusives we had .. all hand drawn, because he could not print them from his computer (!!) it was hilarious ..the one of carlos’ V-Monster was really funny .. anyways he went around jotting down prices while talking on the phone and looking at his list .. after nearly an hour of going back and forth between rooms, he wound up only getting a few items. It appeared that whomever was on the phone was not prepared for some of the prices ( ha-ha ) The rest if the day was a blur for me, perhpas a combination of jet lag and missing my family..Monday the gallery is closed so that would be a free day, more on that next time. But one thing i failed to mention was Yo and I paid a early morning visit to master painter Goto-san to pick up my new kaiju he just painted.. but let me step back a bit and explain how this came to be …
… I’ve been working with Yajima-san of Dream Rocket off and on since my Super7 days and have always gotten along with him and his very positive outlook on all things toys. I’ve had it stuck in my head to do a classic style Dinosaur type Kaiju .. but never got a design on paper i was totally fond of .. until early last year, while leafing through my sketch book, Yajima-san saw these sketches i did and said that he’d like to do this one for me ! Of course the answer was a quick “yes !” and the process was started.

Yajima-san improved my basic designs and rendered this final design, which got a big thumbs up from me, of course !

this painting from an issue of Japanese Toy Magazine KaiZine, was a little sneak at what was to come .. here I rendered Drazoran with a more Marusan-like Godzilla body.. but the message of the painting was that indeed Kaiju toys are viewed outside of Japan as works of art, dare I say Fine Art (!) .. a discussion I’ve had countless times with my Japanese counterparts.. but one thing I realized is most Art movements are actually started outside the countries they are in .. in a way the toys as fine art can only be recognized from a foreign perspective … than once this is established the home country will in turn recognize the art form itself. I actually believe this is what is happening.. I may not see this happen in my lifetime, but it will happen this I am sure of. Ok so to get back to the Kaiju at hand …

At last years Wonderfest Yajima-san showed me this in progess rough of Drazoran ! Wow, it’s really coming together .. so close ! It was during this trip that I also met master painter Goto-san .. more on him later….finally, the Drazoran is done.. I was more than pleased !

to prepare the figure for the soft vinyl process it is cut into parts and a wax version is made ( sorry not shown here ) this wax version is used to make the iron molds, and in turn what the vinyl is poured into.
The first few pieces poured are called test shots and here’s the flesh test shot sent to me for final approvals.

After getting this test shot I ask Yo to ask Yajima-san if it would be possible to have Goto-san paint my Drazoran ? It would to me be such an honor but i do not want to assume this .. to my delight he does agree to do this (!!)
So as I arrive in Japan for this art show and am told we have to go pick up the first painted versions of Drazoran. I’m super excited to not only be seeing the first painted version but also meeting this master painter again ! After several subway rides we arrive at Goto-san studio, really a VERY small work room…

we enter and I glance at this toy .. at first I think it to be an old Marusan figure .. but upon closer inspection my jaw drops, it’s the painted Drazoran !!!

quickly I ask if Goto-san would autograph the figure for me .. and he does !

For Goto-san this is just another job, one in a long line of 50 plus years of painting toys for a living, I think he thinks I’m crazy .. but really it is my honor to have him paint my kaiju toy.

and if that was not enough Yajima-san presented me with the actual sculpt for Drazoran !!

This is the life force, so to speak, of any toy, the sculpt. Mostly thrown away and or forgotten I can not put into words how happy this made me !

Believe it or not this version is almost sold out and I haven’t had a chance to offer it here in the USA ! Max Toy club members will be given first chance but look at my site for more info on this very soon, plus we will be opening our toy club up to new members very soon !
I have a few left, but because the demand at the Kaiju Comrades show we are about sold thru.. amazing. So what could have caused this ? I’m being told the design and sculpt is old school Kaijyu , and not so much American Kaiju ! Perhaps splitting hairs, but if my first reaction was a true one thinking this a vintage toy, than it follows that perhaps others may think so too. Whatever fans reactions are to this I am so glad I took this journey.. meeting amazing artists like Goto-san and Yajima-san … really the circle is almost complete 😉 But my mission to spread Kaiju
is not over for sure, I have many plans that will be unfolded in 2009 and 2010… it’s just getting started. Next time part 6 !

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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