Can’t Top That !

Well, thank you so much for the positive comments from my previous Kaiju Comrades blogs … and for BoingBoing and CNNgo for picking up the Shimizu-san and Goto-san videos ! I’m most excited that both of these craftsmen have in some small way been able to be seen by collectors and toy makers around the world. In the case of Goto-san you should also check out ToyPunks next video documentary that will have not only a Goto-san interview but a different vinyl factory tour with Obitsu (!) Check out their web site for more info and release dates !ToyPunks is bridging these old masters with the young street scene of now in Japan.. please check them out !
One comment I saw really hit it home for me .. I think they said something like …”how charmingly low-tech this all was ! ” .. That to me is exactly my point .. I digress.. I think I was born out of sync with my current time period .. I’ve always favored toys from a bygone era .. be it Buck Rogers ray guns from the 1930s – 1940s, or even silent movies by Lon Chaney Sr. Anyways all this to say I’m so glad I was able to document these two masters in action.. whatever positive attention they get is well deserved and if like me you appreciate their skills and good natured personalities, remember the next time you hold a Japanese soft vinyl toy in your hand, a real person has made it… and possibly Shimizu-san or Goto-san !
So while we’re talking about toy production and feeling that all this cool stuff is happening a world away in Japan .. well let me give you a hint .. if you go over to the Dead Presidents Designs forum, Monster Kolor .. you can see the start of what may well be the first and only Art Toy painting factory in the USA !

Matt, I like to say, is a modern day, Goto-san .. but on a American scale ( you know bigger everything ! ha-ha ) But like classic toy painters Matt paints each one by hand and of course he has that all important color sense, that can not be taught. Keep it up, Matt, you only have 49 more years to catch up with Goto-san ! Look for up coming Max Toy releases painted by Matt .. and Goto-san, very soon !
Now how can I possibly top all this ? I can’t .. thats how ! 😉 Well coming really close to all this a long time and loyal ( thats an understatement ! ) Max Toy collector has done it again .. a huge tattoo of the Six armed Alien Xam ! Check it out and his Blog as well !

Although now sold out, 23 inches tall, my ceramic Kaiju Eyezon made by Mairuzu has been accepted into the next Spectrum Fantastic Arts book, Vol 17 ! I believe the book comes out in Nov 2010.

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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