You know that Jim Carey movie “Yes Man” ? Well, I haven’t seen it, but I feel like that is Me in a nutshell… Ha-ha … I have a habit of saying “Yes” to pretty much everything .. although my New Years resolution was to start saying “No” .. Case in point, I started mapping out the rest of this year 2010, and into 2011 .. anyways I was going to take 2010 easy .. you know a few toy releases, curate a few Kaiju Shows, a casual Comic Con , blah, blah, blah … hmmm, I took a look at my emails and realized I’m as busy these next few months if not more than last year (!) and last year was too busy for me …shoot ! … so much for that resolution !
Hey I’m not really complaining, it’s always good to be too busy than not… but somebody tell me to say “No” more often ( ha-ha )… actually that’s starting to happen, since there’s only one of Me .. and I can’t be in 2 parts of the world at once 😉
I wear many hats with my company, Max Toy Company .. I create toys, I paint artwork, I paint custom toys, I blog, I curate global Kaiju Art Toy shows, I do collabs with other artists, and the most glamorous, I process, pack and ship all the Max Toy orders ;-P
I was sitting here ( at my computer ) the other day and thought, geez, I just sent emails to Mexico, Venezuela, Spain, Japan, and Washington DC ( Hi Professor Mah ! ) ;-P That kinda blew my mind .. the Web is truly an amazing thing !
One aspect I fully enjoy in what I do as a show curator is introducing new artists and working with them to gain a wider audience for their work. And even though communication sometimes is a problem, I know as long as the artist is willing to put up with my lack of language skills in talking with them, their Art work or Toy speaks volumes and can bridge those differences. I’m excited about taking these artists into new directions in the months to come and if all goes as planned a really nice event next year that actually has nothing to do with Kaiju 😉 I’ll keep you guessing about that one folks 😉
Like making wine, some projects take awhile to develop and come to fruition. Some projects are like naughty children and from start to finish are just simply a pain to deal with, while others are so easy you almost forget it’s work ! I’m not about to say which project is which.. I’ll save that for when I retire and write My Toy autobiography .. which I assure you will be a pretty unbelievable read ;-P
For the time being the adventure continues … I’m a firm believer in fate, destiny, and Toy Karma. But also in taking an active roll in making stuff happen .. so if your sitting there thinking about making something or doing something than go ahead and get to it ! It’s true you only learn by your mistakes ( and I’ve made them along the way ) but for me it’s better to have tried than not … Carpe Diem !
Todays pic is painted Mini Captain Maxx figures .. I hand painted these protos for advance solicitation .. I’ll paint the Kaiju ones soon as well and post them… the final production Capt Maxx minis will be painted by Matt Walker and his Presidential Coatings divison using his Monster Kolor paints, while master Kaiju painter Goto-san will handle the Kaiju figures… all coming very soon !
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.”