Mark Nagata for "ByeBye2018 Hello2019"

WHAT-IS: "ByeBye2018 Hello2019" is a serial feature where select artists share with us their past year in 2018, and what to expect from them in 2019!"

( On Instagram )

TOYSREVIL: How was 2018 for you? Share with us your most triumphant moments in 2018.

MARK NAGATA: 2018 was the best year we've had for Max Toy Company in it's 14 year history. To be honest, it's a complete blur to me. First, after 3+ years of planning, my exhibit, "Kaiju vs Heroes" opened at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, California.

MARK NAGATA: The planning for this included several trips to the museum and having the curator, Maria Kwong make several trips to visit my home to pick out 300 plus toys and artwork from my 3,000 plus piece Japanese toy collection. Plus having a special truck come and pick up all the toys and artwork and drive them down to Los Angeles.

I was nervous wreck the day of the opening (September 14th, 2018) because I had to make a speech in front of hundreds of people, but also because that very day I learned actor/activest George Takei was going to make opening remarks! Long story short, I survived and the exhibit has been well received and it's run will be extended into 2019.

MARK NAGATA: Max Toys also released many new toys and new licenses including a Toho one day licensed Hedorah figure and also various Ultraman series Kaiju for sale in the USA, again a historic first. Also released Sofubi-man, my tribute to the artisans who make our vinyl toys.

Sometimes people get confused but I switch back and forth between Max Toys and Mark Nagata.

MARK NAGATA: As Mark Nagata, I also was in many art or custom toy related shows including in Spain at the Topic Museum, 15th Anniversary Giant Robot gallery show with a pen and ink artwork. Had a painting in an exhibition by CHOGRIN, celebrating legendary director Guillermo Del Toro, called “In the Name of the Monster, the Robot, and the Bleeding Ghost” at Gallery Nucleus.

MARK NAGATA: Throughout the year, Yo Miyamoto attends monthly shows in Japan all thru 2018 selling Max Toys, too. As for myself, April I went to STS toy show in Shanghai, China and had a Max Toy booth and had a interesting time. June had our first annual Kaiju Paint Party in Tokyo (we'll have another August 2019!), November had a booth at Dcon along with fellow Japan toy artists and debut our figure based on Martial Artist Gerald Okamura. And, several trips to the Kaiju vs Heroes exhibit to give tours of the show.

Max Toys were in the Cranbrook Art Museum Wild Vinyl: Designer Art Toys exhibit.

Self published my art/ toy biography, "Toy Karma"  book with lots of help from FlabSlab (currently sold only at the Kaiju vs Heroes exhibit).

I know I'm forgetting many events (I apologize to those organizers for leaving them out) but basically I was busy !

TOYSREVIL: What is your most favorite toy, or piece of art you've seen in 2018?

MARK NAGATA: Ok so to be perfectly honest, I don't keep up with most new releases of Art Toys or even Kaiju Toys. Mostly, I don't have the time, as I'm focused on my own stuff but also I collect vintage toys so sorry to say the newer figures are not as interesting to me (no offense).

Also the latest trend is towards more horror or super detailed gore types of figures. While I can appreciate the craftsmanship and effort involved they don't have much appeal to me.

I can say the figures I've seen from Planet X Asia I do like and lend themselves to more of what I do like namely Kaiju or Japanese toy influences. Also, the Kaiju One figure, Trinity, is a massive and interesting concept to me. I also liked Cinematron by UhOhToys.

TOYSREVIL: What are you most looking forward to in 2019? Any plans for your work, for the new year you can share with us?

MARK NAGATA: We just announced the first sofubi Alien Baltan figure from the original Ultraman for release in the USA and Japan made by Max Toys. There's another bombshell figure, but I can't say just yet as well. Basically, as a 54 year old toy collector and maker, it's finally time to be able to be able to make and sell these officially licensed figures, so I'm super happy about that.

Also have a nice collab with artist Joe Somers (Squibbles Ink) that will be very cool .. but again I can't say more than that !

And look for Sofubi-Woman to go along with Sofubi-man  ;-)

TOYSFEVIL: Share with us, WHO you are and what you do?

MARK NAGATA: Max Toy Company makes figures original and licensed based on classic Kaiju and Characters from the Golden Age of Japanese toys.

Instagram @maxtoyco

Twitter @maxtoyco