Alton Takeyasu is Mattel Hot Wheels Design’s key principal designer. Growing up, he owned many Star Trek toys and model kits, which served him well as he studied illustration and industrial (automotive) design at the Art Center College of Design.

Takeyasu, a California native, has designed action figures and vehicle toys, and he worked at Kenner Toys in the 80s. These days, in addition to working at Mattel, Takeyasu is an instructor at Otis College of Design, teaching their Toy Design program.

To anyone aspiring to a career like his, Takeyasu has said, “You have to be interested in how stuff works. I used to unscrew stuff and take it apart. Ask yourself, ‘Why is it this way?’ ‘Could this be done better?’ Don’t just accept things the way they are; look at every perspective and viewpoint.”

He lives in Los Angeles.


In creating your artwork for the exhibition, what was your inspiration?

The optimism that humankind will survive and thrive into the future.


What excited you most about the opportunity to get involved in this Star Trek 50th anniversary art project?

The Hot Wheels brand is also approaching its 50th anniversary, and these are two things I grew up with. They are both relevant and inspiring.


What does it take to do what you do for a living?

You have to be interested in how stuff works. I used to unscrew stuff and take it apart. Ask yourself, “Why is it this way?” And, “Could this be done better?” Don’t just accept things the way they are; look at every perspective and viewpoint.


How quickly/easily, or not, did your concept come to you? And how long did it take from start to finish to complete the piece?

I had a different plan at first, but when Leonard Nimoy passed away, this concept suddenly came to me. I already had the inspiration photographs in my files. The rest came together quickly.