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Tiki Central Forums Creating Tiki Tiki Carving I think it has reached a point where it bears discussion...
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I think it has reached a point where it bears discussion...
Site Administrator

Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 3452
From: Redondo Beach, CA
Posted: 2005-11-14 06:59 am   Permalink


On 2005-11-14 05:57, foamy wrote:
Just out of curiousity, I'd like to see what constitutes a perversion of tiki. Not something way off (I know that of which you speak), but something marginal, something just over the line.

At first glance this sign may appear to be something way off but it's not. It is just over the line. That is, many many lines. Original? YES. Tiki? You decide.
BTW, this sign was made by someone that used to frequent Tiki Central.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 14, 2004
Posts: 4284
From: Sydney, Australia
Posted: 2005-11-14 07:05 am   Permalink

I think BK has a good point, and his intentions are in the right place.

I also think it came across as negative and discouraging to new carvers/artists. We need to support newbies (and oldies too), not whack em over the head and say "thats not how I like my tikis!"

I know there are some artists whose work I love, who arent gonna post on here cause they dont feel the love, and that gives me the sh**s. I would definitely say these people carve "tikis" and not "caribbean" or other such things. Hell, I found out about this through another thread of a carver whos stated they're through. Thats not right, and really has pissed me off.

I wouldnt say I have a great knowledge of tiki and its history. I have the BoT, and thats about it. All of my tiki fix is through that and TC. God forbid i fool around and come up with my own intrepretation. Hell, tiki culture for me is based upon anothers country's retro/nostalgia culture, the original basis for this itself was based upon thinly disguised and misguided romanticism. I dont think historical accuracy is exactly assured.

I think its a bit too anal to stress the whole "study the masters" point. Lighten up. I create tiki for kicks, to get away from my study. Having some person tellin me I need to study before I can do this kinda defeats the purpose of doing it to get away from studying.

Ill continue to post my tiki and (some) non-tiki art here. I love it when people dig my art, but try not to worry when people dont dig it. Hell, if i was going for popularity, I wouldnt be so into the whole tiki thing. It maybe good tiki, it maybe bad tiki. If you think its garbage tell me. Just make it constructive and Ill welcome it.

Its funny, cause Im a hypocrite. Ive spent this whole post attacking this thread, when I do agree with it to a large degree, and follow it myself (to some degree). I love lookin up tiki pics on the net and developing my artistic endeavors. So in a lot of ways, I do support the concept. Im just not so big on trying to keep stuff traditional.

The more I think about it, the thing that irks me the most is that some people I class as mates arent gonna post their art here, beacuse they dont feel welcome. That aint right, and pisses me off no end. Im sure this wasnt the aim, but its the result.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 09, 2004
Posts: 1096
From: The Haole Hut, London, UK
Posted: 2005-11-14 07:53 am   Permalink

Ok here we go.
I must say I'm split on this and i hope this explains why.

Is it our decision to decide what IS "Tiki".
Shouldn't that be the call of those that truely own an ancestoral right to the word

True Tiki is surely only that which comes from the Polynesian islands that created it. And there are only a few groups of those that have.

Fiji, PNG, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu aren't Polynesia. Neither is Indonesia, and definately not Africa (sorry Tiki Bob)

Call it South Pacific or South Seas and that excludes Hawaii.

Most of what we have here on Tiki central is for a better word what Sven describes as Polynesian Pop, or Tiki styled, and therefore so is most of what is in the BOT, and most of what came before it too including the first Tiki bars, Trader Vics, Don the Beachcomber etc.

Try Telling a polynesian that it's tiki and you might be thrown into the nearest volcano with every western barstardization thats been produced ( OK they dont really throw peple into Volcanoes, Thats Poly Pop, Hollywood style).

Polynesian Pop is an amalgamation(sp?) of many things, some true to its roots and others way, way off, but they have been accepted and on the whole embraced by the "Tiki" comunity.

Why now do we decide a cartoon face in a log is not Tiki? Read the BOT and it states that Milan Guanko credits "kiddie cartoons amongst his influences", and although a piece of Tiki Style History I doubt Witco would stand up well against the True tikis at the city of refugein Hawaii. Ok Milan guanko was a master of his craft, but everyone else has to start somewhere, and a basic interpretation with the right guidance and knowledge can lead to greater things.

Tiki central is not the Bishop or British museum it's a fun place.

BK, I love to see your acurate representations of true oceanic pieces and I'm sure many would love to get to that stage of carving, but some don't have the vision or skills (Yet) but that doesn't mean they shouldn't try. Maybe those in the "know" need to be more honest with others, in a nice way of course.

I got into to Tiki through Travelling the South Pacific region, I had never heard of Tiki bars, Tiki Mugs or Shag.

But I saw Tiki in its natural form, in its actual surroundings and it affected me, and in all honesty this is where my heart lies, with the people and places who actually own the right to it.

With the freinds I have there, we are working on Projects to bring back some of the Traditional skills in some villages in Samoa.

I love traditional work and aspire to it, but I dont feel I will ever really produce it myself here in the uk, but I try my best to represent it.

I totally agree we need to learn the History and Culture behind it to keep it's boundaries but there's nothing wrong with stepping over it once in a while as our predecessors did last century



[ This Message was edited by: cheekytiki 2005-11-14 07:59 ]

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Basement Kahuna
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 3601
From: Jawja Province, Isle of North America
Posted: 2005-11-14 07:57 am   Permalink

I feared the true intention of this post may get distorted in a hot kind of way, but hoped for the best. This wasn't about how this guy or that likes his tikis. And all of you have been here long enough to know I've never "smack talked" or passed judgement on anyone's creative pursuits or accoladed my own rather humble ones in any way besides providing information on what the object is (especially in the face of amazing carvers like Ben, Danny Gallardo, Gecko, etc., etc...the list goes on and on here, and we are lucky for it). Nor was I speaking from any sort of presumed pompous authority or snobbish standpoint. I would hate to think that I had ever come across that way here. Just a very, very passionate one. It was merely about a fear that a lot of our tradition and history is being forgotten/rewritten or lost. Just a call to knowledge. Anyone saying that they won't post here anymore or will stop carving is ridiculous and very saddening. That is so far from the intention of the post that should many more feelings like that occur, I'd delete it before it stopped any more art(lifeblood) from being produced. (Ship's air horn sounding) "Now hear this, now hear this...please remain on battlestations...Do not stop carving or posting (pleeze?).

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Basement Kahuna
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 3601
From: Jawja Province, Isle of North America
Posted: 2005-11-14 08:01 am   Permalink

P.S. Ben Davis is Yoda. Leroy Schmaltz is The Force. The rest of us are just humble Jedi.

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Basement Kahuna
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 3601
From: Jawja Province, Isle of North America
Posted: 2005-11-14 08:06 am   Permalink

And interpretation is another way of saying "style", of which I think everyone here has their own unique one, and this is a good thing.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 15, 2005
Posts: 229
From: Palm City, Florida ( no really)
Posted: 2005-11-14 08:48 am   Permalink

I applaud BK for stirring the tribe. Now all we need is an outside force or event to focus and bind us all together. Its like brothers fighting till an outsider steps in and then they all bind together to overcome the intruder. Thanks again BK for stirring the pot and adding passion to our endeavers. I feel even more committed to the cause and were ever it takes me.

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Palama Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 01, 2005
Posts: 349
From: Lake Wales, Florida
Posted: 2005-11-14 09:31 am   Permalink

Since BK brought up Leroy Schmaltz, may I direct your attention to this article:


Wherein Leroy himself says of his creations, "They have a Polynesian flair," he says, "but they are imagination, fantasy."

According to Doug Nason, co-author of "Night of the Tiki: The Art of Shag, Schmaltz and Selected Primitive Oceanic Carvings" (Last Gasp, 2001), Schmaltz "is the king of the second school," referring to post-World War II interpretations in restaurants and bars.

Leroy also says that "Tiki is a form of escapism". "As long as the world is in turmoil, people always turn to peaceful, pleasurable worlds and this is one of them."

Even those now considered "traditionalists" used the original island art as a jumping off point and created a whole new genre.

In my humble opinion, the first rule of carving is to have fun; the inspiration, whether traditional or fantasy, flows from that font.

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Johnny Dollar
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 01, 2003
Posts: 3074
From: Columbus, Ohiya
Posted: 2005-11-14 09:33 am   Permalink

tiki font...

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Basement Kahuna
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 3601
From: Jawja Province, Isle of North America
Posted: 2005-11-14 09:37 am   Permalink

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 16, 2005
Posts: 122
From: capistrano beach ca
Posted: 2005-11-14 09:54 am   Permalink

Is the goal to recreate the past or create a new future ?.I am a sculpture not a carver but have developed a passion over time for traditional style.It has to come from within in order to be of value,not based on others opinions.BK your passion for tradition is valued and it shows in your work .Not every one has reached the point in there desire or ability that you have.The tiki resurgence that is happening is reaching out to people that know nothing of tradition,they buy what appeals to the eye or a throw back from some childhood love for tiki.I feel when it comes to so called tiki art there will always be a non traditional aspect but it will be carvers like yourself that will keep the traditional style alive.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 25, 2005
Posts: 106
From: Downers Grove
Posted: 2005-11-14 09:55 am   Permalink

Regarding this ~STYLE~ which is called Tiki: Having a name to it makes it limiting. It's not snobbish, it's just true.

I agree w/ the studying of the classics. It would be good idea at this point in the discussion. There's nothing wrong w/ carving a wooden face for fun, to relieve stress, or to appeal to the masses but to create a "tiki" is something that takes a bit of homework if it is to appeal to a "tiki" community. This is also different from what I see as modern polynesian art. No one's getting graded here though, so just do your best. Your carvings will show. Carvers like gmann, although they don't maintain too much of the traditional polynesian elements to the carvings, he does have one thing I envy: a style. I've been looking for one for years.

I have spent weeks in libraries just looking at polynesian art but also checking out graffiti tags. I study hula but also know how to breakdance. I listen to the the lastest flavors of underground techno/house but try to wear flipflops any time I can. I am a carver of 2005, I like this time and have challenged myself with trying to create something that is uniquely "me" while maintaining elements that are uniquely Hawaiian/polynesian but that speak for ~right now~.

We all come from different backgrounds and have been trained different ways but we come together and overlap at this forum. Every artist here is taking an active role in creating a tiki movement. A movement that speaks for NOW. This is something that needs to be developed while Polynesian art is respected and revered as much as "vintage poly pop" from the early 20th century. Discussions like this should encourage us all to take on this challenge. There is a "TIKI2K" here in this universe and it waits to be discovered. We can do this as long as we do it together as an ohana.

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Basement Kahuna
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 3601
From: Jawja Province, Isle of North America
Posted: 2005-11-14 10:23 am   Permalink

At least everyone is talking..I did edit the original post for a few tidbits I felt in hindsight could appear sort of tough or critical(I never intended them to be). This is the most active thread on Tiki Central I have seen in a while!

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Tipsy McStagger
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 21, 2004
Posts: 3682
From: HELL
Posted: 2005-11-14 12:11 pm   Permalink

I think a number of things should happen. first, everyone should feel free and welcome to post their work here. second artists should stop acting like little crybabies and not post because, god forbid, someone may offer a little critizism.....I have been creating tiki art for quite sometime now and the reason I don't post is because i don't feel people are being honest in their assesments. It seems a case of the emporer's new clothes here, where every critique is sugar coated no matter how ghastly the art. you are not doing the artist any favors by sending them off into the world thinking they are on the right track when indeed you know they are not.....that's not how we grow as artists....our peer group is our sounding board and if our work blows, we need to know it...i'm not talking about placing value judgements on our works but offering an honest critical eye, that will be taken not as a slam, but as a valid opinion that may shed light and help us artists grow and change. To be an artist is to have to have a tough skin and be able to sort out the legit info and critisims from the b.s. - no room for babies!! As robert williams once said -"to be an artist is to make extreme vows of personal application in the face of minimal reward...real artists are usually miserable"

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purple jade
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 19, 2003
Posts: 1450
From: New Orleans
Posted: 2005-11-14 12:44 pm   Permalink

I wonder, if this were Owl Central, would there be a debate over what is an owl and what isn't?

I also wonder how many people who create borderline tikis in what they dub their own "style" just couldn't be bothered to learn about traditional styles. There are people argue that Picasso's abstract paintings of women didn't look like women. But Picasso could and did paint more realistic-looking women prior to developing his abstract style. There are several artists represented here with fine arts and/or commercial art backgrounds that definitely have their own styles but the traditional elements ARE abundantly evident. I know they've not only studied authentic Oceanic art, but a LOT of other artistic styles too. That's a big part of developing your own style, learning from others that came before you. It's one of the reasons I started doing museum replicas, to learn the stylings, and why art students sit in museums for hours recreating famous paintings. That's what apprenticeships are for. If you don't bother to get a lot of research and learning in, that's when you end up just ripping off.

Because just dabbing some smudgy watercolors on paper doesn't necessarily make an Impressionist masterpiece

I don't have my own style much at all, I rely VERY heavily on traditional styling to make my tikis "tiki". I admire the Shags and TikiTonys and Miles Thompsons and TikiDiablos and many others very much for their decidedly individual takes on the tiki theme. I ain't got it. But I also admire the BKs who strive to make their creations a faithful homage to the ancient artisans of Polynesia, painstakingly detailed with authentic elements. Doesn't mean he doesn't have his own style. And I don't think anyone could say that a Benzart creation is neither traditionally nor uniquely styled.

P.S. (which in this instance stands for "pissy script") I take credit for originating the "chicklet teeth" reference, after the denture scene in Dennis the Menace. Anybody still have the Tiki Teeth I passed out at Hukilau "03?

edited for clarity

[ This Message was edited by: purple jade 2005-11-14 16:51 ]

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