Japan trip 2012 KONATSUNAGATA art show part 3

Here’s part 3 about my recent trip to Japan, for my 2 person art show with artist Konatsu and Max Toy stuff.

KONATSUNAGATA show opens !

As usual I got up at 3am, 4am and finally 6 am… so improving 😉 At least Japanese TV is always entertaining … some shirtless Chicken guy .. who went to eat fried chicken !!! I guess that was the humor …ha ha !

and took this picture and sent it to Max to see if this was a new series of YuGiOh .. of course it was so I made a mental note to go look for it for him. Interestingly, I don’t look for toys for myself anymore (!) or so i thought ….Arriving at the show, Yo’s family came along to help with the morning rush of buyers .. we handed out special tickets with numbers and only allowed 5 people at a time to come in and shop.
I’m sorry but I decided not to photograph the people .. whom I was told were a mix of Konatsu fans and dealers. To no ones surprise within the hour all of Konatsu’s items were sold .. our new King Negora and micro Negora were gone too .. my customs were all sold, but for one.

I was eyeing this original art .. but we had to let all the folks who waited have a chance and of course it sold ! Look at the price, folks .. very reasonable for a piece of original art ;-P

Oh boy this one was cute too …
In the midst of this selling, a TV crew wanted to film the show so they squeezed in and started filming ;-P

After a couple of hours the mania had died down to a trickle and we could breathe a bit .. but it was time to have a autograph session … I wasn’t sure what the deal was so I sat down.. and noticed Konatsu-san was taking out tons of pens and markers .. Hmmm… I got like a sharpie ?Out of no where, a bunch of folks showed up again this time armed with Shikishi boards .. used to have artist etc sign or draw on … glup .. oh so I’m suppose to draw on it ;-P Ok well i can handle that i think … but there were some hard requests .. like drawing Lady Maxx ! To be honest I use photo reference and sketch before I paint or ink .. so just using a marker directly onto the board .. well that takes a steady hand (!) And to make it even worse, they all wanted both of us to draw on the board, with me going first … !

My first attempts, were so-so .. I think I got better as the time went on .. Needless to say Konatsu-san is an old pro at this and quickly drew out one cute image after another !
Somewhere in there she managed to draw this one for me .. based on my cat, Daisy 😉 Boy, so good ! and she did this for anyone who asked, for free !!!
Konatsu-san also gave me these soda bottles .. she knew I loved Ultraman ;-P

I’m afraid there isn’t many photos from this point on in the day. In what seemed like an endless parade of friends, well wishers and fans came through the show and what wasn’t sold .. sold ;-P

The show closed for the day and a group of us went to okonomiyaki, again 😉 Hey I don’t mind ! We didn’t have Touma to cook, but Yo-san did a good job at it !

At dinner, had a nice discussion with Yajima-san of Dream Rockets 😉 The first thing I told him was to get his darn web site back up again ;-P He let it lapse but no he’s not out of business .. haha .. actually he’s getting married, so it’s understandable his mind is elsewhere for the time being.

When i think about it I’ve known Yajima-san since my Super7 days … like the old men we have become we lamented over the current toy scene .. and while the sales are improving both in Japan and the US, the long term out look is still not so good. Yajima-san had showed me this fantastic in progress sculpt ( I will post pics if he lets me ! ) I took one look and said it would be a home run ! I hope I can post them … I think it will be one of his best figures, ever !

These types of gatherings I do miss in the US and am envious they can go to so many events where a Kaiju type of company can fit in. Though I am shielded from Toy Politics here, so maybe I’m just looking through this scene with rose colored glasses ;-P

Another late night, back to the hotel by midnight … smelling once again of grilled food ;-P
Tomorrow is the last day of the show and a painting / drawing demo .. hmmm I guess i’m the drawing part .. sheesh .. I have no idea what I’m doing ;-P Oh well … I’ll wing it !

A quick shower and I hit the bed .. unable to sleep i think about the last few years ….

It’s been several years of non stop Kaiju shows in Japan, Spain and the US. My goal has been to educate and help give exposure to up and coming and established artists under the Kaiju genre. Showing how these toys are made via Masters like Shimizu-san and Goto-san has been a honor for me .. and I will keep doing this.

While I am guilty of bastardizing Kaiju, like how Otaku means something bad in Japan, but is considered a badge of honor outside of Japan .. it’s been a fun ride and I’ve met so many wonderful artists along the way.

I know this will be the last show of this type for me for awhile. I’ve already planned it this way, last year in fact. I’m on the one to two years out planning schedule … !

Toy Karma, which is every 2 years is great and I’ll do that as long as Rotofugi will have me .. the scope of these type of shows is so great that every 2 years is a good pace for sure … but for me it’s time to turn my energies towards Max Toys and my art work. We have so many projects and collabs lined up that I have no time to mount Kaiju shows for the foreseeable future.

You know, everyone likes to come to a party but no one likes to throw it 😉

I’ll also turn my attentions to doing more educational show and tells about the Japanese toy making process .. like the upcoming Japanese American National Museum talk April 14th in Los Angeles … I think the best way to show the newer generations what the soul of Kaiju is about.

I have so many things to do when i return back home, that i almost forget I’m in Japan and should be enjoying myself … well Monday we have planned to see the latest Ultraman movie … so I am looking forward to that …yay !

I close my eyes and fall asleep to the sirens and cars from the street below… yes .. like Blade Runner …

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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