phew … there’s been so much going on I’ve had no time to update the blog, sad to say … so this will contain a bunch of things that would have had individual posts but to save time I’ll just post em up now …. 😉
Monsterpalooza April 2013My first time to this con and I have to say i loved it ! My first love was and is Monsters be it Kaiju or Classic Universal Monsters .. while I prefer the oldies to say Slasher type of movies I do enjoy looking at the make up / EFX aspects to them all … if you like this sorta thing I would highly recommend Monsterpalooza to you, there another one in October. Random shots below …
these were cool, wax candles .. check out the creature candle bust and the cool resin kit below …
Awesome Aliens vs Predator battle scenes, display only …by Simon Lee
vintage poster above 😉
above the below incredible masks and busts by Jordu Schell Jaws tribute – these figures had incredible details down to hair on the backs of hands
Above my score was this awesome oil painting by artist E.M. Gist .. check out his work !
above and below: Life sized Phantom of the Opera and Nosferatu figures by Mike Hill, simply stunning work …
so the other reason for traveling down to Burbank was to meet the original cast from the Ultraman TV show. First shown in Japan in 1966, the show has had a huge influence on many around the world .. including myself ;-P It could be argued that if i had not seen this show for the first time in 1974, I’d most likely not have gone down the path I’ve traveled. Not only do i collect Ultraman toys but my toy company is influenced by the toy makers from that era. I don’t get very “fan” boy about much but this event had me VERY excited !
The cast rarely appears all together at one event ( in Japan ) and never have appeared together in the USA, in fact only the actress who played Fuji, Hiroko Sakuri has been to the US previously. We entered the autograph room and to my surprise and old friend from Japan was there, Shigeko Kojima, who was managing the actors on the trip ( above pic )
another old timer ( haha ) whom I use to do Ultra related artwork for back in the day, but I never met in person, was Jim Cirronella. Jim was responsible for coordinating the actors to come to Monsterpalooza. It was good to meet Jim and catch up.Max and I greet actor Susumu Korobe, who played Hyata in Ultraman.
Here we greet the suit actor Bin Furuya. He was the guy in the Ultraman suit, but later also played in the Ultraseven series.Max greets actress Sakurai-san
I love this picture, it’s surreal to me that nearly 40 years later I get to meet these actors and thank you them in person. All were extremely gracious with their time and put up with all the fans ;-P
Later to a packed crowd of 200+ the cast took questions from the crowd … I have to say it was a very funny exchange with some great stories.
Check out this video :
Brad Warner was on hand to translate this event ( above ). Brad for years worked at Tsuburaya ( the company that made Ultraman ) and knows a lot about the shows. Brad is also a well known Zen teacher/ author as well, check out his books !
Sorry for the brief over view, I have to say i had a flood of emotions that day and upon my return there was more news that i will reveal in the coming weeks that really blew my mind 😉 What that is I can not say .. it will test all my abilities that’s for sure but in a weird way like this event will bring my career full circle for me.
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.”