A few months ago I was honored to be asked to submit a customized toy and painting for a special show celebrating the 40th anniversary of iconic characters Devilman and Mazinger Z created by the legendary, Go Nagai. Dubbed ” DZ40″ the event will take place August 17 – 31, 2012 at Tokyo’s Tokyo, Tokyu Plaza, Harajuku, Tokyo (admission is free, open 11am – 9pm)
The web site is here: http://vision8.jp/dz40/
I didn’t have much time to complete both so the pressure was on ! But I’m up for a challenge so here we go !
First up was a customized version of King Negora, or Devil Cat Negora ! Below is the step by step process I went thru ….
Starting with a white based vinyl King Negora I heated up the back to make slots to hold the wings in place …
Meanwhile using thin cardboard i cut out the wing shapes and started applying apoxie sculpt to them.
slowly building up the wings here ….
once the basic shape was achieved I sculpted in some texture or rough fur and blended it out with some water and a brush …
Wings done, once dried I flipped it over and repeated for the back side. Below you can see the wings in place but this side still needs the putty work …
Here I’m roughing in the head mask … pretty much the same process but the head is rounded so i had to bend the putty to the head …
Above, the head mask fitted onto the head.
Unpainted, mask and wings in place ready for Monster Kolor paints.
A nice base coating of red starts the wings off.
Various shades of green are used on the Negora, keeping in mind the Devilman outfit.
Eyes, teeth and paw pads need to be painted and the whole figure is clear coated to seal the paint work.
The final figure … finally done !
While working on Devil Negora, I also began working on a painting. I knew in my mind that i wanted to show both characters in one scene, emerging from a storm cloud. This time working on canvas I started the painting with a full pencil under drawing.
Mixing up a raw siena and yellow oxide acrylics with matte medium … I use this mix to tone the canvas …
Below, I start painting in washes of paynes grey and black …
Here’s the progression of this process …
Below I start working on the sky and clouds …
Below working on the main figures adding colors …
Slowly working my way over the main characters …
Now starting to add highlights and making further adjusts to the figures …
And finally the finished painting ! To be honest I could have used another day on it but the deadline was up so a final varnish and boxed up both this and the custom, off to Japan 😉
Both pieces are up for sale, I ‘m not sure how the exhibit will be set up but I’ll post more info as i find out.
My thanks go out to Akashi-san of Medicom, Dynamic Pro and Go Nagai, the organizers of DZ40, Tokyo’s Tokyo, Yo Miyamoto of Max Toys for this wonderful opportunity.
I had a great time working on both of these pieces and hope they find good homes 😉
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.”