Interview with artist Candie Bolton

Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of helping upcoming artists and toy makers along the way. As I get older, I think I get more pleasure from helping artists or at least pointing them in the right direction 😉 A few months back I started noticing the work of Candie Bolton via Instagram. I had commissioned a painting from Candie of my two black cats, Lulu and Trixie, aka Double Trouble and this stunning painting was the result.

DoubleTroubleHonestly, I was amazed to learn that this was her only 3rd attempt at a full color painting. A few fellow artists who have seen this original at my house do not believe that this was her third attempt ;-P Ha ha.. well, regardless I knew Candie had the talent and passion to further her skills. I think you’ll agree that she has what it takes to make it in this business. I look forward to seeing more beautiful work from her and I really can not imagine where she’ll be at in another 5-10 years as she’s only in her twenties !

doubletrouble72Double Trouble pencil sketch


Here’s a short interview I had with artist Candie Bolton, March 2014.

Question: Can you tell us a bit of your background? How long have you been drawing? Did you go to art school?

Candie: If I had to guess I’d say I started drawing when I was 3 years old. My parents knew I had a talent for it when I was in kindergarten and my art was being featured in the school newsletters. I had a couple art classes in high school, a basic art class in community college, and a whole lot of art history, but aside from that I haven’t had much schooling in it.

Question: What influences your present art style ? Do you have any favorite artists or toy creators?

Candie: When I was a kid my drawings were influenced by nature and animals, but as I got older my interests shifted towards anime and everything Japanese so I tried to emulate manga artists for a while. My style now reflects a blending of those two influences. My absolute favorite artists are James Jean and Audrey Kawasaki, but I try to absorb influences from a wide spectrum of artists.


Cupids Volley ( from a recent Dragatomi show )

Question: I know you like cats and even have a very cool cat tattoo. Can you tell us why you like cats so much ?

Candie: There are so many reasons! Aside from being incredibly adorable they also make great cuddle buddies. I grew up with a lot of animals so it’s hard for me to pick favorites, but cats are definitely high on my list.

Question: You only just started painting, but I have been very impressed by your skill set. How is it you’ve been able to pick up painting so well so quickly ?!

Candie: I’m not deserving of your praise, I still have so much to learn! I don’t believe skills are gifted to people at birth, it’s something that you have to earn through hard work and dedication. I’ve been drawing my entire life so maybe those skills translated well to painting. Either that or all of my art history classes mentally prepared me for this moment!

PenFoxSkullsFoxes and Skulls

FoxSkullsdivine intervention small  Divine Intervention

Question: Max Toys is releasing a special Negora set with a giclee with your art. Can you tell us how that image came about .. Double Trouble ?

Candie: The only direction I was given was to draw two black cats so I played off that idea of duality by making the piece symmetrical. I came up with all the background imagery of fish and bird skulls because I was trying to think of what cats like and what a cat would consider “cool”.

Note: Sorry this Negora set has now sold out !

Mothra_sketchMothra and Twins

MothraThe painting above is in the upcoming Atomic Meltdown show at Clutter Gallery March 8th, 2014.  (Note the painting has sold !)

CandieBolton_march72Question: Where would you like to be with your art career in a year from now ?

Candie: What’s most important to me is that I keep improving my skills. I hope that a year from now I can look back at the paintings I’m doing now and feel like I’m a million times better than that. Career-wise I hope to have my first solo show, and a few of my own toys out by then!


I want to thank Candie for taking the time from her busy schedule to answer these questions. Honestly, if you haven’t heard of her, you will in the coming months 😉

Follow her to find out what shows she’ll be in below. I’ve got a few Max Toy projects in the works with her including this ;-P

KitsuneBackTo contact Candie and buy giclee prints and more check the links below:

And of course follow her via Instagram:

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.”
This entry was posted in anime, art show, art toys, cats, dragatomi, Japanese toys, kaiju, manga, Max Toy, Max Toy Company, negora, painting, soft vinyl, toy maker and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Interview with artist Candie Bolton

  1. laurabarbosa says:

    Awesome Art! ~Cheers

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