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Big Tiki Heads and Mugs

Big heads call to me

It is 1975, in Southern Maryland. I am consumed with sudden Tiki lust. Exotic Island Music is what I seek. And exotic tropical drinks. Instead, all I have is an endlessly repeating cassette loop of Hawaiian War Chant by Don Ho that a sadistic friend has gifted me. And country music lounges are the only bars in town. Friends have been buzzing about the tropical drinks at the local hot spot. Once there I glumly contemplate a “Hank Williams Mai Tai”.

Tiki Room imageI ask a bartender if she can make me a real
polynesian drink. She looks at me suspiciously, shakes her head and pours me a shot of hundred proof Yukon Jack. "Drink this, and it won't matter," she says. The only Tiki lounge I knew is closed. I have come too late. Wistfully, I leave.

I dream of the Tiki Juice Bar at Disneyland. A sweet promise, a tease, 3,000 miles away.

Tiki in modern art exhibitDecades pass. I begin to see Tikis again. They are returning. I visit art galleries. They are there. They have returned via the gateway of our subconscious, transported by our nostalgia. They are surreal in the contemporary context, but more exciting than ever. Their implications of island paradise are even stronger for all that our modern life exists even further from Eden. Tikis have attached themselves to other dreams as well, and suddenly they seem a ubiquitous element in our pop culture. A constantly re-emerging subtheme of the primitive.


As the 90s draw to a close I’m living in San Diego, in sunny Southern California. Tikis are everywhere. They are are in people’s back yards under suburban tiki huts, they are on shelves in people’s homes nestled amid the barware, sometimes they peer through picture windows at passersby. They are even in the grocery store, swept in on the wave of our edenistic yearnings and the Spring bloom of backyard Tiki parties. Grab some Tiki torches, buy a plaster Moai or two and blend up some pineaples with a little rum.

This website is dedicated to the Tiki dreams that have arisen from living in Southern California, among the tiki relics of the ‘50s and ‘60s. It celebrates the new age of Tiki madness that is currently spreading along the West coast. I’ve always enjoyed the imaginative fantasy world of the the polynesian paradise. And in recent years as the Tiki art movement has had a resurgence in popular imagination, and a place in people’s homes, I have embraced the tiki as an enriching element in my personal illustration.

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Tiki Room & Tiki Central
Tiki Farm
Clayjams by Babalu
Tiki Talk
Humu Kon Tiki


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The Tikis are back. There's going to be a lot of fun, just wait and see.