In Memoriam: Martin Harris - Kaiju Are My Friends Art Show!

Discussion in 'Whatever' started by Mr. Humphreys, Oct 31, 2021.

  1. ElvisFromHell

    ElvisFromHell Comment King

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    In Memoriam: Martin Harris - Kaiju Are My Friends Art Show!
    Absolutely tragic news - I'm shocked. I never got to meet Martin in person but we traded an occasional PM here and on IG over the years. Though I've really slowed down in my collecting in recent years, I still tried for one of his most recent paintings at the Outre show but they sold out instantly - a tribute to his talent. Rest-in-peace, Martin.
     
  2. IronPaw

    IronPaw Line of Credit

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    In Memoriam: Martin Harris - Kaiju Are My Friends Art Show!
    It’s pretty devastating to hear someone connected to this scene of collecting ended their life. Seeing Martin’s art and knowing it will never be made again, I’m at a loss of how to put those emotions into words. He made a choice that some side of me understands, the understanding doesn’t lessen the sadness I feel for Martin no longer being on this plane of existence.
     
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  3. Paulkaiju

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    In Memoriam: Martin Harris - Kaiju Are My Friends Art Show!
    Such beautiful art bubbling with such authentic love and joy. This is absolutely heart wrecking news.
     
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  4. leadster

    leadster Addicted

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    In Memoriam: Martin Harris - Kaiju Are My Friends Art Show!
    This is hard to process. Martin's work was so refreshing and could only make me smile while I wandered through each composition. Read this tribute folks! It's skillfully written and a fitting remembrance. Thank you @Mr. Humphreys for providing the link to it.

    Take care of yourselves folks! We all matter in this crazy ass world.
     
  5. CopASquatToys

    CopASquatToys Comment King

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    In Memoriam: Martin Harris - Kaiju Are My Friends Art Show!
    Terrible news! Such an amazing artist.
     
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  6. Mr. Humphreys

    Mr. Humphreys Mini Boss

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    In Memoriam: Martin Harris - Kaiju Are My Friends Art Show!
    It's been a few days now, and it's still hard to fathom Martin's passing. Been thinking of him a lot lately, and of the article written by Robert Brokenmouth

    https://www.i94bar.com/columns/the-art-and-tragically-unnecessary-death-of-martin-harris

    as @leadster pointed out, it is a well written page, and in a way, helps us with closure to understand what happened. Leave a comment at the end of the web page, to perhaps let him know we appreciate the news.

    If you have any personal stories to tell or artwork to share, I would love to see them posted here. He sent me a few personal momentoes when I was feeling blue, completely surprised me. He was definitely a sensitive caring and giving soul. I miss him, and I miss the fact that we won't see any new artwork or postings from him. He enriched the world in many ways, and in ways he didn't know (which is a shame), we are poorer for his passing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2021
  7. xSuicide Squadx

    xSuicide Squadx Super Deformed

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    In Memoriam: Martin Harris - Kaiju Are My Friends Art Show!
    I was unaware of the circumstances behind Martin’s indeed tragic death until last night. It’s almost always the brightest and most creatives spirits that have a hidden darkness. I’d like to think he’s very well aware of just how much cuter, more colorful and fun his works made the people and world around them. I know he’ll never have the chance to read this, but I’m so glad this board introduced me to him before he passed, regardless of the short amount of time between the two.

    Grace, thank you for linking that write up. What a wonderful read from the perspectives of those who knew him both personally and even at a distance.
     
  8. Mr Fox

    Mr Fox Toy Prince

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    In Memoriam: Martin Harris - Kaiju Are My Friends Art Show!
    I'd like to think he did know Grace but perhaps there is a difference between knowing and believing? I am sure many of us told him how much his artwork brightened our day and, that is before we even touch upon, how much his friendship meant to those of us who knew him and were lucky enough to call him a friend.

    Martin was a very private person and I feel he would have had very mixed emotions regarding what has occurred since his death. I have stayed silent up until this point for this reason and also the wishes of his partner (whom my heart goes out to). However, the i94bar post has changed the landscape and dialogue.

    Martin was the things that people have said: kind, humble, caring, talented, unassuming, quirky with a subtle and dry wit. Of course, he was also so much more... a lover of music (the Pet Shop Boys being a personal favourite), vintage science fiction (Dr Who, Space 1999, Thunderbirds, etc), it isn't a surprise that he was a Japanophile but also an Anglophile, both countries he expressed wanting to visit again in a conversation we had a few weeks back. He had a sweet tooth and Bakewell tarts were a favourite; we had discussed the merits of the Marks & Spencer version (which I had to post to him) vs the Mr. Kipling ones he could buy in Australia. I never won that debate because ease of access to Mr. Kipling's overruled the superior quality of the M&S version. I am yet to eat a Bakewell since Martin's passing but I know every time I do, he will be in my thoughts. He was a self taught artist and, perhaps, this was also part of the reason he was often overly critical of what he created. On more than one occasion I recall him telling me how he wasn't even sure he was using the materials correctly. My response, as I am sure was that of many others, was: with the results you are achieving, use them any way you like! A side note is that some of Martin's earlier work is featured in The Lonely Planet books - it is very different to his later work but no less impressive and shows how capable he was of realism.

    He didn't do commissions but one day I mentioned the concept of 'the Kaiju 500' to him; due to our shared love of the Toygraph Racers, it seemed to intrigue him. Martin first showed me the Racers, during a virtual tour of his collection, and it was this glimpse, followed by our subsequent chats about them, that kindled my passion for these four wheeled kaiju. Over time we discussed the idea and layout of the painting and then, as he always did, he wove his magic. The end result was superb and created in Martin a desire to use the concept for the show he had scheduled at Outre for the following year. Over the period of that year, he showed me glimpses of pieces he was working on and, at times, asked for feedback on Racers whilst they were in the drawing phase. Garamon in particular was a one he took multiple runs at before he was pleased with the result. To say he was meticulous and precise does not truly illustrate just how much care he put into the creative process and the finished piece. Anyone who has even seen his handwriting has had a glimpse into the level of precision.

    When he showed me the final output for the show I was charmed by all the pieces and, in typical fashion, he was as humble as usual when any praise was given. The fact that all the pieces, bar one, were sold before the show opened means this praise was not unwarranted. Those of you who have seen photos from the show may have been eagle eyed enough to see a 3D rendering of a piece that looks like a soft vinyl toy, in a frame, on the wall. This would have been the first sofubi piece that Martin had designed and he was excited at the prospect. He had gone through a variety of styles before landing on the version that his collaborator was happy with. I do wonder if the piece will be made because it would be another nice tribute to the person and his art.

    I could go on but I won't; however, it felt wrong to say nothing. As mentioned above, I believe he would have found 'this' challenging. He was not someone who liked overt displays of emotion on social media... so Martin, I do apologise and hope you'll understand that all of this comes from a place of great affection and are the musings of a friend trying to make sense of the loss.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2021
  9. Mr. Humphreys

    Mr. Humphreys Mini Boss

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    In Memoriam: Martin Harris - Kaiju Are My Friends Art Show!
    As you mentioned he was a very private person, thank you Mr Fox for this remembrance. Whereas he might object to public praise in person, I think these stories are different as they are meant with affection.
    I didn't know he liked Bakewell tarts!
    [​IMG]
    You are correct, Mr. Kipling is a lot easier to get a hold of than M&S. They look like they belong in a platter in one of his paintings on a plate, placed on a fireplace mantle, with Blythe munching away at them :)
    We are so lucky you introduced him to the concept of Kaiju 500. I remember when I saw the painting on his IG last year. Absolutely magical. I wish prints were available, but it is a marvelous and mesmerizing painting. I remember wanting to be one of the spectators in the show box full of people :) Here is Kaiju 500 for those who haven't seen it...
    [​IMG]
    Thank you Mr Fox, I enjoyed learning a little more about Martin

    p.s. my fav doctor is Tom Baker, Dr. #4 ! :D
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2021
  10. Russblue11

    Russblue11 S7 Royalty

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    In Memoriam: Martin Harris - Kaiju Are My Friends Art Show!
    There were actually prints made (only 20!) that were released through an IG post on 06/17/20 but I saw it way too late. Maybe there could be prints made again someday if Martin indicated any last wishes regarding his art

    I did manage to pick up his “Golden Age of Dinosaurs” original print run (also limited to 20!) and his attention to detail was incredible, from the stickers and labeling to his handwriting at the bottom.
     
  11. Mr Fox

    Mr Fox Toy Prince

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    In Memoriam: Martin Harris - Kaiju Are My Friends Art Show!
    As @Russblue11 has mentioned, he produced a limited run of 20 prints of Kaiju 500.

    To add further context, and illustrating what a gentleman he was, he actually asked my permission to produce the prints. Someone could argue that this was only fair; however, I was always trying to convince him that he needed to ask more for his art and benefit from his art where he could. Thus, I was happy to oblige and actively encouraged it.

    The issue was that Martin disliked the 'business side' of art and, at least in my experience, it never sat comfortably with him. I can recall more than one conversation where he asked my opinion on whether what he was proposing to charge for something was 'fair' (Kaiju 500 prints, Hell Hound prints, to name just two) and I always felt he undervalued what he produced. I'd ask him to consider what the postage material (the one-off stickers he made for prints, special omake he put in with things he sent out, the special packing tape he used, the art boards he used to protect the pieces, etc) actually cost him and he'd brush it off as something he just wanted to do. He painted because he loved to and that showed in the art he created. However, his love of what he did, and the joy he wanted to bring to people, also showed in the way he presented that art and the experience people had when receiving something from him. Even at 50, receiving post from Martin immediately brought me back to the feeling of excitement you had when receiving something in the post as a child.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2021
  12. gatchabert

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    In Memoriam: Martin Harris - Kaiju Are My Friends Art Show!
    Loving the insights from Mr Fox. I wish I knew Martin's art years ago. It would have been great to pick his brain.
    I was going to talk about pricing art but I won't. We can start a new thread for that because this thread is for Martin.
     
  13. Mr Fox

    Mr Fox Toy Prince

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    In Memoriam: Martin Harris - Kaiju Are My Friends Art Show!
    I felt some of you may wish to know that a service is being held for Martin on December 13th at 12:00pm in Australia (UTC +11), so that you could remember him at that time, where ever you are, in whatever manner you chose.


    [​IMG]

    The above is a piece that Martin created as his Christmas card for 2019 - it celebrated some of the elements that he loved from his visit to Japan, as well as his beloved Swizzel, whilst also blending in the spirit of the holiday season.
     
  14. Mr Fox

    Mr Fox Toy Prince

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    In Memoriam: Martin Harris - Kaiju Are My Friends Art Show!
    It is my understanding that a few forum members were able to secure pieces from the show and I would imagine that they are now starting to arrive at those homes... today, this arrived with me.

    Very bittersweet given the circumstances but yet another reminder of the talent that Martin possessed, his immense creativity and the care he took with each and every element of his art. Photos do not do it justice, especially this quick one taken after unpacking it; nevertheless, I hope it brings a smile to the faces of those who view it because, in the end, that is exactly the reason why Martin painted.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. ultrakaiju

    ultrakaiju Die-Cast Staff Member

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    In Memoriam: Martin Harris - Kaiju Are My Friends Art Show!
    ^ Aw, totally epic @Mr Fox. It is such an amazing piece. Fully appreciate those bittersweet feelings at having this delivered now. But, I think Martin would be very happy to know how much this was going to be appreciated in your home. So it is a sad reminder of his passing, but also something to be enjoyed and reflected on with his incredible talent. Well done on adopting that piece and I am quite envious. As a fan of the work, but also very importantly the person behind them, I am very glad Martin's work will continue to get the love it/he deserves.
     
  16. Mr Fox

    Mr Fox Toy Prince

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    In Memoriam: Martin Harris - Kaiju Are My Friends Art Show!
    [​IMG]

    This could have gone into many threads: what I just got in the mail, favourite piece, the Toygraph Racers or many others but this seemed most fitting.

    Not long after Martin's passing, his partner mentioned to me that Martin had left a note asking them to send me 'the purple dino in the orange car.' Martin's partner isn't heavily into soft vinyl toys and the back story / history of many of the characters, hence the simple description of the piece.

    Martin was one of the people who fired my interest in the Racers and we used to joke about how if his purple Goro ever went missing, he'd know who to blame because it was one of the collection I was missing.

    Well, it arrived at its forever home this week. I am hugely grateful to Martin's partner for sending it to me and it has massive sentimental value. I wish it hadn't arrived with me under the circumstances it has; however, it will be treasured. Thank you Martin. I cannot help but wish you'd spent the time you took to write the note asking that Goro be sent to me to reach out for help instead but I know such idle thoughts, after the fact, are pointless. You are missed.

    To anyone who is suffering, I ask you to reach out to people who can help. I know it may feel pointless in the moment, when times are darkest, but there is always someone who is willing to listen and assist. I am yet to hear of someone who has taken their life who isn't still mourned by those who knew and cared for them. You are more important to those around you than you may know.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2022
  17. ultrakaiju

    ultrakaiju Die-Cast Staff Member

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    In Memoriam: Martin Harris - Kaiju Are My Friends Art Show!
    ^ A treasure like no other. Small stories (and I thank you for sharing this one, @Mr Fox) show how these are so much more than simple 'toys.' I know every time you look at this wonderful purple dino, it will be with mixed emotions, but one thing is certain - there will always be an incredible connection to you personally. And good and bad, that is the way life comes to us. I am sure he knew exactly how much this would mean to you.

    Thank you, Martin, for everything you've given us.
     
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  18. Mr Fox

    Mr Fox Toy Prince

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    In Memoriam: Martin Harris - Kaiju Are My Friends Art Show!
    Cheers Steve. Couldn't agree more.

    With respect to the below...

    ...I don't believe it has been posted previously, but this was the intro to Martin's final show. I feel like it is relevant to not only that event but also your comment and how so many of us feel about these inanimate objects; perhaps even more pertinent, the friendships that stem from them:

     
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  19. Vombie

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    In Memoriam: Martin Harris - Kaiju Are My Friends Art Show!
    I don’t know how I missed this horrible news. He was such a cool guy.

    May he rest in peace. :(
     
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