Author Archives: toykarma

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.”

HELLBOY 20th Anniversary show at Hero Complex Gallery curated by Chogrin

Excited and honored to amongst a wealth of super talented artists in this upcoming tribute show to Hellboy. Its an official show backed by both Hellboy creator, Mike Mignola  and Dark Horse Comics being held at Hero Complex Gallery, and … Continue reading

Posted in airbrush, art show, kaiju, mark nagata, Max Toy, Max Toy Company, painting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Japanese Toys ! Talk and Tour at SFO

Thanks to the Japan Society of Northern California and SFO Museum, you can buy tickets to see the Japanese Toys ! exhibit plus attend a talk about Japanese Toys ! The event is April 22nd, 2014. Full details and how … Continue reading

Posted in art show, art toys, Bandai, bullmark, collectibles, comic con, custom toys, giant robot, Godzilla, Japanese Toy Store, Japanese toys, kaiju, kaiju toy, Max Toy, Max Toy Company, paint masks, painting, Ultraman | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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 😉 … Continue reading

Posted in anime, art show, art toys, cats, dragatomi, Japanese toys, kaiju, manga, Max Toy, Max Toy Company, negora, painting, soft vinyl, toy maker | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Monster Kolor secret party West Coast

Once again it’s been so busy I’ve neglected this blog … if you need up to date info on what I’m doing and/or Max Toy info I post to the Max Toy site all the time : http://www.maxtoyco.com Todd “Mechavirus” … Continue reading

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Japanese Toys at the SFO Museum show

 I finally got around to seeing the new SFO Museum show called Japanese Toys ! From Kokeshi to Kaiju. For those who may not know the San Francisco airport ( SFO ) has an actual accredited museum contained within the … Continue reading

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Design Festa 38 Tokyo Japan Max Toy Kaiju Trip

Ok in my ongoing effort to try to catch up with various Mark Nagata / Max Toy events … here’s some pics from my recent trip to Tokyo, and Design Festa #38. This was my second trip to Japan this … Continue reading

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Toy Karma 4 at Rotofugi gallery Chicago

Well it’s been awhile since last posting here …. been so busy with various Max Toy events … and I’m way late on posting this … the show is long over but we had a fantastic turn out for the … Continue reading

Posted in art show, art toys, custom toys, Japanese toys, kaiju, kaiju toy, Max Toy, Max Toy Company, rotofugi, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment