Catching Up on Blogs !

Ah, were does the time go ?! So behind in projects and blogs ! Ok so thought I would just throw all the ones i’ve been meaning to post up in this one blog … ! After about 2 months finally have my new studio / collection room about 90% set up. Not quite there but as you can see from the pic above at least i have stuff up on the walls (!) Actually had to take some pics of the room for an upcoming magazine article .. more on that as soon as I know the street date, but it’s a really cool magazine called Illo … check them out ! I also highly recommend their other publication called Illustration Magazine I subscribe to both and unlike other mags I keep these …
Ok so in no particular order … my buddy Chris and I checked out the newly re-opened Kimono My House over in Emeryville, CA. ( near Pixar by the way ) .. while only a small room now, still packed with Japanese toys .. and I’m sure to the non collector an impressive sight…

and while your there say hello to the Monster cat .. I think 20 pounds worth ?!! Nice Kitty …
Cool retro style tin wind up of a Space Man Trooper ( not the Japanese ToyGraph one ! ) from Schylling Toy Company, thanks Chris !

and coming very soon, the Bacteria figure from ALIMAÑA and Amorfo companies from Mexico.. here are some pics they recently sent me…

and finally while unpacking found some artwork from my days as an illustrator, oh way back when ;-P All from the days before a computer and the internet..yes ancient times indeed.. in fact when I had my rep in New York, I’d have to fax drawings to them ..I saved a few faxes from those times but guess what ? There all faded and brittle ! Any how, for those wondering all these are done on Crescent Illustration board, 300 heavy weight, acrylics brushed and airbrushed. Sizes vary from about 11×15 to 20×30 inches.

above: a portfolio piece – based on a mystery book novel – from my early days as an illustrator. I marvel that a friend of mine and I actually had the nerve to go to New York with nothing more than a art directory, our portfolios and basically cold called art agents ( reps )and dropped off our books( portfolios ) trying to get an agent… I also remember standing on a corner in the rain and of course a cab drives by and totally soaked me while standing there … hmmm, so thats why no one was standing so close to the corner ? I must not be from New York !! One agent said we didn’t have what it takes 😉 and showed us an original brothers Hildebrandt painting which of course made our portfolios look like crayon drawings (!)… rather than making me depressed I thought to myself, heck, your not stopping me (!) … luckly for us one of the last agents we saw , Peter and George Lott, took a chance on us young folks.. I have to say in my 13 years in freelancing I really got an education in working fast, making changes on the fly ( no photoshop days ) on the art and dealing with stressful situations.

above: give yourself goosebumps book cover – thought it was interesting that more than a decade later I would make a toy called TriPus that has a similar vibe, No ?!

by the way TriPus made it into the latest Spectrum Fantastic arts book coming out very soon.. number 16.

above: another in the endless stream of kids and teen horror book covers I did.. it seems like a blur now ;-P

above: I originally did this piece for my portfolio, but my agent was able to sell it for use in a Toys R Us ad that appeared in New York newspapers during Christmas time.

above: Silver Surfer – another failed attempt at getting some work from the comic book realm back in the 90’s.. but still a favorite of mine and Max’s.
Ok so enough rambling on about days past..back to custom painting toys and coming end of this month Max Toys will have a booth at Design Festa in Japan ( thanks to Yo ! ), November, Max Toys / Mark Nagata have our Kaiju Blue show at the Marui department store in Tokyo, December group art show with Dream Rockets, Sunguts, Dead Presidents at Double Punch Gallery in San Francisco… going forward Max Toys has a table at Winter Wonderfest Tokyo in Feb 2010, and Kaiju Comrades art show at Design Festa Gallery in Tokyo ( I’ll be there for this one ! ), and June 2010 Kaiju Attack !! show, Atticus Gallery in Barcelona, Spain ! phew … and new toys you may ask ? yes while it’s taken awhile we have 6+ of them lined up… 😉 more on that very soon, but in the meantime the fiberglass Eyezons are about to be shipped from Rommel in the Phillipines to be painted by you know who in Boston, Killer Kaiju book from Collins design and Ivan Vartanian / Goliga Books, is set to be released in December !… geez, I promise to take it easy next year (ha-ha) but looks like there will be another “event” in the works that I can not say more, but will once again raise the bar on what Japanese toys are in a historical context 😉
More soon !

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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