Monday, September 10, 2007

Been There: Toy Karma Show at Rotofugi

Sorry i've been missing a few posts. Just got back from Chicago. I happened to be in town for the Toy Karma show curated by Mark Nagata of Max Toy Co and hosted by Kirby and Whitney of Rotofugi. I was seriously impressed. These people put on quite the show. It started over a year ago when Kirby asked Mark to put on a solo show. He wanted to introduce "Kaiju" to the Midwest I suppose. Just when Chicago kinda figured out what the hell "Designer Toys" are, perhaps Kirby and Whitney wanted to take it to another level and show them a taste of what Japanese monsters are all about. Mark thought this would be a great opportunity to bring all kinds of different artists from around the world who are all inspired by classic Japanese Toys. Thus the Toy Karma Show was born. Almost 30 artists from the United States, Japan, and other countries contributed a staggering amount of original 2D and 3D art and custom toys. The price list alone was 3 pages long single space. Better yet, Cronic, Rumble Monsters, RealxHead, BLObPUS and MaxToyCo all created exclusive toys just for the event!! Between the exclusives, artwork and customs, there was something for everyone.

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The big question Kirby had in his mind a month ago was "Would anyone care? Are we putting all this effort into a show that no one will attend?" After all, Rotofugi sells western toys, not Japanese toys. Would Rotofugi customers be interested in these Japanese toys??? One thing for certain, as soon as the artists and the exclusive toys were announced, all the Japanese collectors were chomping at the bit. Although it was only a couple of months after SDCC, exclusive toys always draw hardcore collectors.

As pictures of customs and exclusive toys started to finally show up in last few days before the show, hype was peaking. So much so that when a special preview sale happened online for a few of the custom toys the night before the show opening, rabid collectors from around the world crashed Rotofugi's overwhelmed servers and when the dust settled, everything was sold out in mere seconds. What was unusual I thought were the pieces were priced pretty high. See my last post on $1,000 toys. Not to say that these pieces of art are not worth it, but certainly higher than we have seen at past customs shows at Super 7 for example, featuring some of the same artists. Hmmmmmm, maybe there is something to this Kaiju.....


Venezuela's Carlos Enriquez nutty brain copter!!


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The_Z showing off his ticket which is lower than mine.


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The Midwest digs Japanese toys!!!


Ted showing the goods!


Show Exclusives!

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Zac and Joe showing off their purchases


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smiling_idiot with his new stash.


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Alex Wald with his unbelievable illustrations

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Carlos Enriquez with his vibrant and not so subtle toys.


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Bob Conge and his amazing custom BLObPUS below:


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Kozik's custom Evil and Kaiju below.


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The man who introduced kaiju to the midwest, Mark Nagata!


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HUGE props go out to Kirby and Whitney for their vision and execution of this amazing show!

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

awesome coverage Kirkland!

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