Because of the Japan earthquake and tsunami, this show’s focus has changed towards those events. See the revised press release below. Thank you for the support !
Show opens March 19th, 2011.
I have a painting i did of Gamera in the show. You may ask what this has to do with safe tap water ?!! Haha, well I’m paired up with actress Ayako Fujitani, who as young girl was in the Heisei Gamera (1995–1999) movies !!!
You may have also seen her in the “Tokyo!” movie segment directed by Michel Gondry.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Group art show opening
Water Works at GR2 – A benefit for UNICEF and child victims of the
earthquake in Japan
March 19 – April 13, 2011
Reception: Saturday, March 19, 6:30 – 10:00 p.m.
2062 Sawtelle Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF (USF) is raising funds to help children in
Japan impacted by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. This is an
unusual decision, as Japan is a donor to UNICEF, not a recipient of
its assistance. However, due to the unprecedented nature of the epic
disaster and its impact on children, resources are going to be
critical in helping provide for the very unique needs of children.
These may include health, development, and protection and other needs
that may have been compromised or disrupted in the wake of the
catastrophe. Giant Robot is proud to join the effort, and have asked
many of our talented friends to create water-themed art to raise funds
to support the efforts of UNICEF.
In addition to raising money by selling artwork, Giant Robot will be
donating the following to UNICEF:
1. Proceeds from the sale of water bottles featuring labels created by
artists and signed by celebrities.
2. Fifty percent of proceeds from Giant Robot’s small restaurant,
gr/eats, on Saturday, March 19.
3. A percentage of all sales at Giant Robot, GR2, and GRSF during the
weekend of March 18-20.
4. Raffles for donated merchandise including designer- and
artist-signed items, GR gear, horseback rides, and other items.
5. Cash donations accepted for UNICEF.
Contributors include the following:
James Jean kozyndan
Bryan Lee O’Malley
Ryan Jacob Smith
Deth P. Sun
Esther Pearl Watson
This event is made possible by the generous help of Intertrend
Communications, the most innovative, digitally savvy Asian marketing
agency in the country. In addition, Intertrend has pledged to match
the first $10,000 raised by proceeds and donations through Giant
Giant Robot was born as a Los Angeles-based magazine about Asian,
Asian-American, and new hybrid culture in 1994, but has evolved into a
full-service pop culture provider with shops and galleries in Los
Angeles and San Francisco, as well as an online equivalent.
The opening reception featuring many of the artists will take place
from 6:30 – 10:00 on Saturday, March 19, 2011.
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.”