Beauty and the Kaiju Artist Spotlight: Hiroe

above: Alien Xam by Hiroe

When we first approached these artists about this project, Beauty and the Kaiju, we knew most, if not all of them did not paint Kaiju anything in their works ;-P
But, I’ve tried to expand what Kaiju could be, and wanted to challenge these artists to work on a project that they normally would not be involved with. For me, this type of project pushes the boundaries and for me creates excitement and keeps me wondering what will the art look like ?!!

Beyond that, I think it’s a nice chance for Kaiju collectors to see other artists and get to know their works via this subject matter.

So far you have seen Tulips take on Kaiju Eyezon, today we reveal another amazing piece by artist, Hiroe !

Hiroe is actually a full time beautician in Tokyo for 25 years. As you will read below, she does not have formal art training, but you can see she does have a natural talent ! Cutting hair is for sure an artistic skill and endeavor and I can tell that Hiroe has that ability. Her illustrations have in fact been published in several books as well.

When I first saw the art for this piece, my mouth dropped ! And in a good way !! I was totally struck by this approach and style ! WOW ! It really makes no difference that Hiroe has no formal art training, as you gaze on this other worldly take on Alien Xam. You can see she has a grasp of colors, forms and sense of motion in this art.

The following interview was conducted via email and once again thank you to my buddy, Yo Miyamoto for his translations and support of this project !


– Being a beautician for 25 years –

With the motto, “Love and Peace”, I try to make my life, work, and artwork casual but punchy.


Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.

Q1: Can you tell me what kind of artwork you do ?

Answer: I just draw whenever inspiration that pop up.

Q2: As a child, were you always interested in Art ?

Answer: Yes, I was. I was drawing something everyday.

Q3: Did you go to Art school ?

Answer: No, I didn’t.

Q4: What kind of toys did you play with when you were growing up ? Any Kaiju ?!!
(子供の頃、どの様なオモチャで遊んでいましたか? 怪獣で遊びましたか?)

Answer: I played with Licca-chan doll (like Barbie doll), but not Kaiju.
リカちゃん人形. 怪獣では遊びませんでした。

Q5: Any last words you would like to say to the readers of this blog ?

Answer: This project totally changed my perspective and perception for Kaiju.
“Kaiju is interesting and fun!!”
” 怪獣っておもしろい!!”

Thank you so much for participating in the Beauty and the Kaiju show !

This awesome image of Alien Xam will be part of the Beauty and the Kaiju art show at Design Festa , West, Harajuku , Tokyo, Japan – Dec 22, 23 & 24 , 2010. The original will be available for sale plus giclee prints.

After the show, I will make them available for sale via my web store,

And in February, the project moves to Rotofugi in Chicago, with an added bonus we will reveal very soon 😉

Hiroe Info:

web site :


In the next few months, I will post more interviews with the Women in the Beauty and the Kaiju project, so keep checking back !!!!

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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