HETEROMORPHISM curated by Dream Rocket at Double Punch Gallery

HETEROMORPHISM curated by Junichi Yajima of Dream Rocket opened at Double Punch Gallery this past weekend ( 9/24 ).

A group art / custom figure show with global artists from Japan, Germany and America. While dubbed a Kaiju show, and featuring many types of Kaiju the show’s name referred to a form having different forms or life cycles such as a metamorphosis. Artists could use this idea and expand upon it in whatever way they wanted.

The day before the show, Friday , I was to pick up Yajima-san at the airport. Due to his lack of English and my lack of Japanese (!) I sent a schedule for each day almost hour by hour to be translated for Yajima-san. In particular i told him to proceed from customs thru one of only 2 doors into the international arrivals lobby where i would be standing and waiting for him.

Well, after 2 hours of waiting for him, he didn’t come out .. so i was getting worried ;-P Thoughts of him being questioned about strange Kaiju toys went thru my head … but my phone rang and sure enough Yajima-san was on the line…. I could figure out it was him but he could not tell me where he was in the airport ! After a few frantic minutes he found someone to hand the phone to.. and it turned out he was in the domestic terminal ! Now if you’ve ever gone through the San Francisco international customs .. well I’m still stumped as to how he managed to get over to this other building (!) let alone exit and walk past me (!!) I may never know ;-P Haha !

After another 40 minutes ( I had to move my car to another garage and walk around looking for him, I finally found him outside and of course smoking with a fellow traveler ! The look of relief on his face was priceless !

So off we go, checked him into his hotel and on to the Double Punch gallery.

At Double Punch we begin to unpack and figure out how best to layout the show .. which is a mix of custom toys, artwork and even hand knitted figures.
As we set up, Emilio ( jumping brain ) Garcia and his girlfriend arrived to meet Yajima-san and also to lend a hand at setting up ! Emilio was so helpful !!! Above Yajima-san, Emilio and myself attempt to mount a shelf .. which ultimately did not work out (!) But no matter, we eventually found some clever solutions 😉

Soon we had to leave to attend a dinner at Mel’s Drive In … several collectors attended and a good time was had by all.
My Club Sandwich … and below Max ordered clam chowder in a bread bowel AND he ordered a bacon cheese burger, both of which he ate !
No wonder he’s almost my height … ;-P Yajima-san even sketched for a fan .. he’s not found of his drawing skills, but I kept telling him he’s really good ! I think you’ll agree in this pic below … very cool !

The night was over and even though we were tempted to go feed the racoons ( haha ) I knew it had been a long day for Yajima-san.
The next day, Yajima-san needed to finish off a few of his newest figure Beelzebub … so using V color paints he sprayed away. The weather was not very good, with a light drizzle …

Jay22 arrived and we had some lunch ! But we still needed to finish setting up, so back to Double Punch we went ! Thanks to Jay22 and Double Punch Ryan, we had all hands helping to set up.

Just before the show started we pulled it all together as you can see in these pictures ….




Here’s a quick video of the show while we set up :















We had a good turnout and Yajima-san was happy 😉 Even though our plans for a translator fell through Yajima-san was able to talk to fans and show his work. The opening was over as quickly as if had begun and it was time to eat !


Thanks to Double Punch we had some really good Chinese food and yummy watermelon drinks !

The next day, Sunday, Yajima-san was o give a painting demo at Double Punch in the afternoon.

But first, after breakfast, we watched Mad Monster Party at my house… a classic stop motion film that Yajima-san remembered from his childhood. He really loved it .. an interesting note the figures and animation were done in Japan by a Japanese crew… Yajima-san did not know this and was very surprised ;-P

We did not have a airbrush hook up, but Yajima-san used a dry brush technique on his figure …

this requires most of the paint to be wiped off and vigorous strokes over the figure to get the paint onto the high points of the figure. Several layers are slowly built up, as well as colors laid over each other.

Final details such as eyes are hand painted. While the figure appeared done, he said that he needed to spray several tints of color over the figure ( red, blue green ) and a final clear coat.


A final look around and Yajima-san says good bye to his show.

Mexican food was the final meal and Yajima-san was able to relax 😉

Monday Yajima-san was leaving and to make sure he didn’t get lost I walked him to the security check point and made sure he headed to his gate ;-P

I have to give a big thumbs up to Yajima-san. Not only did he plan this show but he made the trip over from Japan. This being only the second time he’s ever been out of Japan and the first time on his own ;-P
It’s a major step for this artist and i hope the fans coming to see the show will realize the determination it took him. Not understanding or really speaking the language he still forged ahead with his plan.

Yajima-san is a full time Kaiju / Toy maker … so even traveling is a great expense to him. But he felt it important, as i do, to make that human connection to fans here in the US. Yes, YOU collectors out there are mostly only focused on the getting your toys .. but you have to realize that people are behind them. And in this case a humble person who lives to make and sell toys .. crafted in the classic tradition of Japanese sofubi ( soft vinyl ) toys. It’s really important, maybe even more so now in these hard times, to make the effort to support artists like Yajima-san.

The toy world is a microcosm of the World …you’ve heard me talk about this before .. but if everyone paid it forward a little more the Toy World would be a much better place… Toy Karma !

Items now online here ! —> http://doublepunch.bigcartel.com/

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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