Part 6 – the Wrap Up !
A very long subway corridor …
It’s Monday and we have a day off, well sort of .. the early part of the day finds us in Akihabara, and looking at the new Mandarake. I did not find any vintage Ultraman’s to add to my collection, but they did have a lot of vintage Kaiju .. and a nice selection of very rare figures at that .. still in the $3000-$8000 ranges for the rarest ones, but these prices are down from the highs of just a few years ago. I did manage to score a very cute pair of advertising figures.. oh no I hope this doesn’t mean I’m going down a new collecting habit 😉 While cooling our heels waiting for Dream Rockets Yajima-san to show, we ate some Gyros .. which were quite yummy !
Carlos and family parted ways as it was off to more toy meetings for me !
Tuesday breaks and it’s the last day of the show. We really do not expect any sales or people to show up since it is a work/weekday .. but how wrong we are ! Once again at Noon, a steady stream of last minute shoppers come …. Matt Walker of Dead Presidents Designs made this special sign for me and the show .. as with all his customs, really quite impressive in person, with clear coat and my fav glitter ! Oh ya, and his incredible pin stripe, too !
As I’ve mentioned I had some nice encounters with folks coming to see the show, this one guy came and gave me these really cool and cute cell phone mascots .. he makes them himself, he said his web site may not be fully updated but in case your curious check it out here!
these are only about 1.5 inches in height …
Very talented sculptor, this Godzilla made from Sculpy .. and sold at a Wonderfest… the detail was insane !
Well Tuesday wrapped up and I can safely say we were ready to end the show 😉 It was a good time but so grueling… time to have a nice dinner, which we did.
Wednesday arrives and it’s time to pack up and do final clean up. The shippers and movers would not come till 4-5pm .. so hey we have like 5 hours to pack up, no problem, right ? Well I won’t bore you but again more visitors and the fact that we wanted to wrap stuff so it would not break.. we barely made it .. but we did and suddenly the gallery was empty !
I also had to insert into this a mini search that went on over the days I was in Japan to get these soda cans with Ultraman suit markings on them 😉 ya, I know kinda dumb .. but I had to get these !
the owners of the Ghetto and I as I departed my home for the last few days … So the big question is will we do this again ? I would say in brief, yes ! but right now I can not even think about another one, the amount of prep and emails involved .. well it’s a lot of work ! My attentions are turning to Toy Karma 2 in September at Rotofugi in Chicago .. beyond that there’s something brewing that will be revealed soon ( I hope ! )…
and finally poor max was not able to go, but I suspect he would have been bored stiff by all the boring “toy talk ” ;-P but he did manage to score this very cool custom tee a special Max Toy Fan made for him and me !
For me this trip and show was always about my Kaiju Comrades, each showcasing their incredible talents and creations ! I thrive on collaborations as well as new challanges .. I can not tell you how many folks i meet who say, “if only I could do …” to that,I say “Yes you can !” and you should. Don’t wait for something to happen but make it happen, you’ll be all the more richer in your life and life experience .. failure ? It happens, but the more important aspect is to learn from it and keep on moving forward… in a positive way.
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.”