Bob Conge Plaseebo Kaiju Comrades customs

Way back.. when I was a freelance illustrator, I use to pour through these books… well more like phone book sized books, of page after page of hundreds of artists .. all showing what their work of what they could do … for some art director or design guy to hire them for their next job … so, as an art student, I use to buy these annuals and look at them for inspiration and awe … there were always a few guys that would stand out from the usual trend of airbrush style or old school oil painting ( this is before computer art, for you young folks out there ) … one guy whose page I’d always look at was Bob Conge ..his intensely drawn pen and ink with wash illustrations always stuck in my head .. not in a cheerful way (sorry Bob !) but rather in a more disturbing fashion ;-P .. so flash forward more than a decade later, and I now find myself not only working and collaborating with Bob, but also witness to his new creations ! What he did ( and still does ) on paper, has transferred to the third dimension ( and beyond ! I would say ) … so, for the second Kaiju Comrades art toy show, Bob has once again, created 2 more awesome pieces.. and written back stories to them .. each is unique, hand made and painted, and for sale at the show. Enjoy !

“the Frigiscare / strawberry-blueberry yogurt version”
– with new head sculpt –

here’s Bob’s original back story:

“Coco and the Frigiscare”
copy­right Bob Conge 2009


Obses­sion has caused the down­fall of kings and cer­tainly a seven year old boy is no match for its over­whelm­ing power. Coco is an only child who lives in an upscale apart­ment build­ing in Chicago, over­look­ing the river as it wan­ders its way through the windy city. His favorite room in the expan­sive pent­house is the kitchen and his favorite appli­ance is the Frigidaire refrig­er­a­tor. Sadly, one might say this cold white tower with its com­fort­ing hum, was his only friend. Coco was very very over­weight and all day long he thought about what lus­cious gifts his friend might have for him when he got home from school.

Over time the after school snack­ing wasn’t enough and Coco began get­ting up in the mid­dle of the night to raid the frig. The objects of con­sump­tion were always the same, soft ice cream and Cool-wip. Unfor­tu­nately one night Coco mis­took a tub of yogurt for Cool-wip, YUK, he quickly put the yogurt back and began eat­ing the Cool-wip using the same spoon.

As Arnold would say “BIG MISTAKE”. He pushed the half empty tub of Cool-wip, now con­t­a­m­i­nated with the yogurt cul­ture, to the very back of the frig behind some jars of pick­les and stuff no one liked very much. For weeks the tub sat for­got­ten like some char­ac­ter in a Kafka novel. A meta­mor­pho­sis was tak­ing place. The yogurt cul­ture thrived in the sweet envi­ron­ment of the white muck. It grew and grew spilling out of the con­fine­ment of its con­tainer cov­er­ing more and more of the pick­les and stuff hid­den in the back till one night when Coco came down in the dark­ness and opened the frig door it spilled out and enveloped him, the fridg, and every­thing else in the kitchen, before spilling out the win­dows and down the side of the build­ing to the dark­ened streets of an unsus­pect­ing city.

Not the end.

*(Coco is liv­ing proof that Frank Zappa was right on when he said “you are what you eat”)

“Bituminous minor aka the Gunkanjima Kaiju”

and Bob’s back story :

“Bituminous minor” aka “The GUNKANJIMA Kaiju”
copyright 2010 Bob Conge

All projects begin at the point of INSPIRATION and this one is inspired by a real place,“Hashima” aka “Gunkanjima”, a nickname translated to English meaning “Battleship Island”. This tiny (1.2 sq km) island when viewed from the coast of Japan does in fact look like a battleship setting 19 km off shore. Described today as a rotting Metropolis, Gunkanjima was from 1887 until 1974 a self contained coal mining facility that fed the iron and steel industry and contributed to Japans modernization. At its peak in 1959 Gunkanjima was the most densely populated place on earth, packing 139,000 people into one square kilometer of its 50 residential high risers. They were mining coal from beneath the the sea floor with waves and typhoons raging above. Then 36 years ago the entire population vanished almost overnight leaving behind most of their possessions. The official line said they returned to the mainland, but of course we know better.
And this is where MY story begins. “A great storm raged from the sea that black night in 1974 breaking loose the moorings of all ships docked at the island sending them crashing into the towering break water that surrounds Hashima. Any hope of escape was at the bottom of this tormented ocean when a creature of revenge was awakened in the deepest of the mine shafts as a hand full of men broke through into the cavity before them. This was the first taste of flesh in over 2000 years for “Bituminous minor” aka
“The GUNKANJIMA Kaiju”. He made his way up through the dark winding shafts to the city above and by morning had consumed all those living on this doomed island. Where will he feed next ?”

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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