Beauty and the Kaiju Artist Spotlight: Konatsu

above: Kaiju Drazoran by Konatsu

Today we feature yet another super talented artist from Japan, named Konatsu.

I’ve been so very fortune to have been able to have Konatsu participate in Max Toy shows, including a Kaiju Blue show, Kaiju Attack Barcelona Spain show and the Kaiju Comrades 2 show from this past March. It was at that show that I had the most brief meeting with Konatsu. Unlike other artists that day whose personalities took over the room, Konatsu was quite and unassuming … so much so that when my conversation was briefly interrupted with her, when i turned back to talk some more .. well, she was gone ! ;-P

Konatsu’s original works harken back to the traditional Japanese ink and brush techniques. However, as you can see by her body of work below, her designs also translate to a more graphic style as well. It’s rare that someone can move in and out of both worlds successfully while maintaining their personal vision and style… something Konatsu does with ease.

Konatsu’s brush and line work are sure and steady … for sure she is a Master with these tools. I have to say I’ve wanted to buy one of her works but each time without fail they sell within minutes of the shows openings ! Ah someday … ;-P

Her gallery work can been seen at the Japanese store, FEWMANY, a group exhibition at POPBOX, and various Design Festa shows in Japan.

Konatsu has published several picture books such as ‘PORTER’, ‘CAROL’, and ‘HIDAMARI-ASOBI (play in a sunny spot)’.

“One story for one character” is the main concept of Konatsu’ work.

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 !


Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.

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

Answer: I draw arts that can be popular with men and women of all ages.

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

Answer: Art is the only thing I have been interested in ever since from my childhood.

Q3: Did you go to Art school ?

Answer: I was attending a school of graphic design.

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 my favorite Kaiju sofubi and collected some dinosaur cards.

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

Answer: I do appreciate your support for my works!


I hope on one of my trips to Japan I can watch Konatsu paint in person ! Amazing !

Web site:


This awesome image of Kaiju Drazoran will be part of the Beauty and the Kaiju art show at Design Festa , West, Harajuku , Tokyo, Japan – Dec 22nd, 23rd & 24th, 2010.

Giclee prints, signed by Konatsu will be available at the show.

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

And in February 2011, the project moves to Rotofugi in Chicago, with an added bonus we will reveal very soon 😉

And, for 2011, look for a special project collab between Max Toys and Konatsu !

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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