Professionally identifying herself simply as Konatsu, Japanese artist Konatsu Koizumi revealed her first entry into the designer toy movement in 2008, displaying prototypes of her contributions to Kaijin‘s Space Racers series. And while this collaboration wasn’t realized as an edition until mid-2011, it would be followed only two months later by her Godzilla-like, two-tailed feline Kaiju Negoro, produced in vinyl by Max Toy Company. The following year, she opted to revisit the Negora by issuing a newly sculpted rendition through her own Konatsuya brand. Since then, her adorably monstrous array of animal creations has expanded to include the canine Shibara, the fox-like Sakiros, and the avian Pigora, as well as several further evolutions of the Negora form. Bringing not only this breadth of sculptural shapes but also her appealing aesthetic to the States once again, Konatsu returned to myplasticheart for her second solo outing, the Konatsuya Exhibition 2017.

Overview of the Konatsuya Exhibition 2017

Residing underneath an array of Konatsu’s sumi-e styled paintings were shelves adorned with her vinyl forms, the first of which featured three pieces hand-painted by Rampage Toys‘ Jon Malmstedt. Inspired by the appearance of Masters of the Universe characters, Malmstedt’s contributions were the lying down Sleeping He-gora, the larger-scale Negora Daioh decorated as Battle Cat, and the Skele-Cat Negora, all which had their vibrant color schemes executed on editions of three pieces.
Amid the two Fluffy Negora interpretations, their pleasantly rounded features beautifully adorned with carefully placed sprays of paint, there is also the rabbit-like Mimira, which was designed by the Devilrobots collective and produced by Konatsuya. In addition to a green-eyed Sakiros rendition, the artist also includes a set of four Neko Daruma figures, her cat-like interpretation of the traditional Japanese Daruma doll.
Residing between pink and yellow sets of Neko Daruma pieces, each featuring their own unique decoration, were three of the artist’s forms in Pearl White iterations. With their pearlescent sheens lending a sparkle to the vinyl, these Sleeping Negora, Fluffy Negora, and standard Negora versions have minimal paints accenting their facial details, ears, and paws.
Featuring work of guest artist Black Seed, also known as Kenneth Tang, there were three hand-painted renditions of Konatsu’s vinyl sculptures. Done in the artist’s Amphetamine style, the base of the form is adorned with a rainbow array of metallic hues, stripes of black creating a negative space to contrast the colorful decoration against. Of particular note is his standard-sized Negora rendition, which resided inside the shrine-like body of his two-headed Mini Yu Shou Long dragon.
Delicately hand-painted across their small forms, this pair of Sleeping Negora pieces by Konatsu are impressively detailed for their roughly 4½-inch length. Exuding a festive feel appropriate for the upcoming holidays, these embody the spirit of giving without relying on the trite symbols associated with this time of merriment.
Mimicking the appearance of donburi sōshinbori, or full-body tattoos, these five pieces each have a self-contained narrative hand-painted upon them. While all impressively executed, the exquisitely rendered aquatic scene on the central Daioh Negora‘s body immediately attracts one’s attention. An accomplished work using Konatsu’s signature ink wash painting style, it is the subtle variations in color blocks and details like the texturing across octopus’ hide that make this a truly memorable work.
Hand-painting another pair of Sleeping Negora pieces, Konatsu creates a duo decorated in leopard-like spot patterning. Featuring subtle heart shapes emerging on the form’s foreheads and sides, the minimalist application on these shows a mature restraint on the artist’s part, allowing the vinyl sculptures to breathe without being barren.
Situated between five metallic chromed Metaric Color Negora and archival copies of Konatsu’s three Space Racers are two Daioh Negora depicitions modeled after Japanese popular culture. Issued exclusively at this year’s DYNAMIC 豪! 50! GO! event in Japan, these enlist colorations and paint schemes that recall the Go Nagai franchises Devilman and Mazinger Z.
With the center three of these Daioh Negora using the same paint scheme application, the viewer really gains an understanding for how subtle alterations in these vinyl sculptures can radically change the feeling they emote. More than just a matter of colors choices, the positioning of these piece’s paws develop the demeanor expressed.
In addition to an assortment of versions of her own forms present, Konatsu also displayed a painted edition of her sculptural interpretation of Rampage Toys’ Ugly Unicorn, the Ugly Onicorn. As an added treat for those able to attend, this exhibition marked the debut of Konatsu’s newest work, the Sitting Negora. And, on the day after the opening, she held a live painting session using this brand new form for her fans.

The Konatsuya Exhibition 2017 showcase at myplasticheart had its opening reception on Friday, November 3rd from 7-10pm. All works in this exhibition will remain on display until November 26th, 2017 at the gallery’s physical location (210 Forsyth St., New York, NY 10002).

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