Ask anyone who knows Mark to describe him and the two things that will come up are Toys and Art.
After attending the Academy of Art College in San Francisco during the late 80's and picking up a New York artist's rep, Mark embarked on a 10-year plus journey as a freelance commercial illustrator. Over the years he's worked with a diverse client list which has included Scholastic Books, Bantam Books, Harper Collins, Becketts Publications, Schlage Locks, Genentech, IBM, Square Soft, DC Comics, Sony, Galoob Toys, Lucasfilms, Hasbro Toys and numerous Advertising and Design firms nationally and internationally. The highlight of this time included over 40 cover paintings for RL Stine's Goosbumps book series, Give Yourself Goosbumps.
Churning out hundreds of assignments over the years, coupled with deadlines from hell took a toll, both mentally and physically. "I had to reassess what was important in my life and refocus my abilities towards a new goal. " said Nagata. "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. So it's no surprise that Mark ended up creating and co-publishing Super7 Magazine. After successfully building the Super7 brand for nearly 4 years , it was time to move on."I wasn't able to paint as much as I wanted, and I realized that the part of Super7 I enjoyed the most was creating toys and artwork " reflects Nagata.
Thus was born Mark's venture called Max Toy Company, named after his son Max. With a nod to the Golden Age of Japanese toys, Max Toy Co. will continue the tradition of offering classic Japanese character toys. Max Toy Co. produces its own exclusive toys, both licensed and original. Many of the original toys offered are hand painted by Mark Nagata. A tradition that goes back to Japanese toy makers. Also most of the offerings feature unique artwork on the headercards painted by Mark.
In September 2007 the first group Kaiju show in the United States featuring artists from Japan, USA and South America was held at Rotofugi Gallery in Chicago. Called Toy Karma ( www.toykarma.com ) it was a historic gathering that featured many custom painted toys and art.
Following on the heels of this event in October 2007, over 30 of Mark's original paintings, toys and a selection of his vintage toy collection were featured in Beyond Ultraman: Seven Artists Explore the Vinyl Frontier, at the Pasadena Museum of California Art , a joint exhibition with LaTda , Los Angeles Toy, Doll & Amusements Museum. This marked the first time in a musuem setting that the influence of Japanese toys on California artists was explored. And in 2007 Mark appears on the first volume of the ToyPunks DVD and the Toys R US DVD.
In 2008 Mark sold his hand painted custom Kaiju toys via the prestigous auction houses Philips De Pury and Christies in New York and London. Mark's customs sold in each auction and continue to spread the Kaiju art toy movement into new uncharted areas of the art world.
And in 2009, Mark curated Mark Nagata and Kaiju Comrades art show in Tokyo, Japan, once again bring together artists from different aspects of the kaiju toy movement in this first of it's kind art toy show. Max Toys such as Kaiju Eyezon appeared in the number one song and video "FireFlies" by Owl City in 2009. Toy Karma 2 was held once again at Rotofugi Gallery in Chicago to great success.
2010 marked Mark Nagata and Kaiju Comrades 2 art show in Tokyo and the first Kaiju art show in Barcelona, Spain co-curated with Emilio Garcia called Kaiju Attack. Later that year, Mark also lectured about Kaiju and the toy making process at the Morikami Museum in Florida.
In addition, Mark has also written and Max Toys have appeared in the Eiji Tsuburaya biography from Chronicle Books , Kaiju Attack from Collins Books and Full Vinyl book from Harper Collins, Otaku USA magazine, and Japanese magazine Hyper Hobby, Spectrum Fantastic Arts annual book, Dot Dot Dash book and Art-Toys by Brian McCarty to name a few.
"Max Toy allows me to produce original artwork, new toys, and work directly with a lot many talented artists ", Nagata says
Max Toy is a synthesis of Toys and Art ... both life long passions.