Here’s part 2 about my recent trip to Japan, for my 2 person art show with artist Konatsu and Max Toy stuff.
Party Time !
It’s amazing that the hours can seem like minutes while setting up a show but sitting on a plane feels like weeks have passed by …of course good buddies like Dol Roffo keep the mood fun !
The show was set up and finally Konatsu arrives !and yes, she’s very cute and could understand simple English and was able to speak to me as well ! and no, I still don’t speak Japanese … I’ll write about about it in a later post … haha …
Above, Konatsu-san talking to editor Ishizaki-san of Hyper Hobby … and yes the micro Negora customs …!
Gradually the guests arrive .. each person got a free gift bag with a KitKat box and micro Negora .. if your Negora was holding a gold fish, you won a all gold painted Mini Negora or Micro Negora ! Yesh as usual I forgot to take a picture of them …
Touma-san and Makino-san discuss something important.. namely video games !
Hyper Hobby Editor Ishizaki-san … Hyper Hobby will have a special Negora offer very soon along with a photo article showing all the Negora’s released so far ;-P
The toy makers known as Handsome Taro 😉 … you’ve seen their work and even with Bandai toys … !
Frenzy brothers … we have a new collab with them… they have sculpted a new Captain Maxx !!! which will debut at the upcoming Design Festa show in May. Below is the sculpt with Type A head ;-P
and Type C head … !
this standard size figure is coming very soon !!! I can’t wait .. ;-D
Artist Tomoe and artist Teresa I was finally able to meet ! Thank goodness Teresa can speak English .. haha, she’s very laid back ( inside joke ) …
and Konatsu, Makino-san and Myself with our child .. Kaiju King Negora !
I’m a firm believer in a team effort, in fact, in reality most projects are the result and efforts many .. like a Jazz band the idea is thrown out and the others pick up on the rift and take it into various directions .. all the while adding their taste to it .. the final product you hold in your hand is the result of the music we make. I’m just fortunate enough to be in this place at this time and to be connected to them for such projects.
The night continued to dinner and okonomiyaki .. yummy !
so i’m sitting at a table where 3 of the folks do understand English 😉 and also because Touma-san is known as a Master okonomiyaki maker ;-P as you can see he knows what he’s doing on the grill … in fact he had to run around to everyones table and help cook !
How can he be so talented ?!!
So funny thing as i sit there, the table behind us has some Americans who upon leaving say something like “oh I heard English being spoken ( pointing to my table ) ” .. they had left over beer, so they offered it to us .. but Teresa said to me later, if you look at our table, that I blend in with them .. unless I’m speaking English (!) .. this in a nutshell is my problem when traveling to Japan ;-P
Ya, it may seem obvious, I LOOK Japanese, Duh … but folks speak to me a mile a minute .. unless I can keep up with them, there’s no way I can even stammer out a few phrases … The expectation is I would be a native speaker so i don’t blame them. However, anything short of my speaking fully in Japanese, well that generally confuses ;-P everyone.
So I’ve learned to simply not even attempt any Japanese, sadly … No Nihongo ;-P
In any case it’s unfortunate but i do have good friends who help me out and to be honest, almost everyone 30 and under does understand English .. the speaking may be unsure but they do try and lucky for me.
The night ends and the next day will be the first day of the show… ! Back at the hotel, my clothes smell of grilled food .. and I realize I have only one pair of pants packed for the trip ! gross … I fall asleep quickly …
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.”