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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki Polynesian Murals and Dioramas - Vintage & Other
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Polynesian Murals and Dioramas - Vintage & Other
jpmartdog
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 27, 2005
Posts: 650
From: Amesbury, Mass
Posted: 2007-02-22 6:00 pm   Permalink

This thread is created as tribute to Polynesian murals and dioramas. Whether vintage or otherwise, artists have been hired to take the decor of a restaurant, bar, hotel or home a step further than the polynesian decor we think of first. Sure, a "tiki bar" would be lacking at best if it didn't include bamboo, thatch, tiki sculptures and carvings, velvet paintings and exotic hanging lights, but... this is about that next step that few establishments have taken. Through murals and dioramas, some establishments blend physical components and murals creating a "view" and transporting the lucky customers out of their chair and into a distant place. There are amazing examples of this phenomenon still alive today, yet unfortunately as polynesian restaurants and Tiki bars disappear through the years, sometimes this unique art, considered "tired" and worn out, is the first to be whitewashed, renovated and ultimately destroyed.
The mural artist is alive and well today, but those vintage artists from the 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's have a style that resonate with the vintage quality us Tiki lovers crave. A mural is more than a painting on the wall, it becomes the wall, it becomes the space. The most amazing murals allow the viewer to "walk" into the setting. Some of the best murals utilize physical foreground pieces and painted details, as well as lighting to accentuate the distant scene they represent.

Here in New England, we TC-ers are lucky to have three remarkable and unique mural examples still alive. The murals at the Kowloon in Saugus Massachusetts wrap around two walls and span nearly 60 feet. The distant Island view and actual lighted volcano effect are realistically enhanced by sculpted palms and an actual sailing ship that you "sit aboard".


At the Bali Hai in nearby Lynnfield, Mass. Photographic image lightboxes enlighten the dining room with scenes of Hawaiian Luaus. Who wouldn't want to be at a real Luau!



And just this week discovered by a combined effort of sputnikmoss in Portland and Granite Tiki in Nashua - the South Seas Polynesian Restaurant in Newton Massachusetts still maintains amazing vintage painted murals spanning two walls and encased in vintage bamboo and thatch decor. A truly amazing discovery.

I hope Granite Tiki will post more of his great shots!

How many more of these exist today, and how many of these "dioramas" have recently been destroyed (The Kahiki was the greatest loss of a magnificent diorama). Sams Seafood in Sunset Beach California is being reopened and we all hope their extensive murals will be rejuvenated and celebrated with the renovations. Other establishments feature new murals as does Thatch in Portland Oregon, whose dedicated owner Robertiki strives to create a vintage feel with the amazing Velvet murals he has commissioned.

This thread is for celebrating those long gone memories, undiscovered treasures, and new creations - the murals! Please post info about the celebrated artists that have painted them and new muralists painting today! Let's celebrate the mural in our favorite Tiki joints- that amazing artwork that transports us to where we would like to be!
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freddiefreelance
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Joined: Feb 15, 2003
Posts: 2991
From: San Diego, Ca.
Posted: 2007-02-22 6:18 pm   Permalink



Jade Island backlit Murals, more pictures on
CriTiki.


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The Granite Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 02, 2005
Posts: 812
From: Nashua, NH
Posted: 2007-02-23 08:34 am   Permalink

Murals at South Pacific in Newton, MA













 
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BrickHorn
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 03, 2005
Posts: 178
From: Texas
Posted: 2007-02-23 08:54 am   Permalink

Great post. I can't believe we never found the South Seas when we lived in Boston. That place looks amazing!

 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11169
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2007-02-23 09:59 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-02-22 23:05, Sneakytiki wrote:
Great points being made about the murals. I posted a rather odd location here once, the Bremerton Naval Station Library. It has a gorgeous mural dating from the 30's to 50's with topless wahines and sailors in a tropical paradise. I left there in 95 or so and have long worried that political correctness in the military will have it painted over due to the topless Polynesians. I believe anyone can get a pass to go to the library there. I hope one of our WA members will photograph it some time. Bremerton is about 40 min's from Seattle and had some tiki apt's as well.



Wow! Somebody go there, quick, and check and document this before it's gone!
And maybe check which Tiki apartments are still intact. I heard the Kona Village (BOT p.226) is gone (or de-tikied?). But what about the Tongaroa (BOT p.219) ? And then there was the Polynesia...

Makes me wonder if this Navy town had other Polynesian pop features in public buildings...

Someone photograph and post that Library mural please!


 
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tikiyaki
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: May 18, 2004
Posts: 2708
From: The Exotic Port of REDONDO BEACH, CA
Posted: 2007-02-23 12:21 pm   Permalink

Wow, great murals...Damon's in Glendale has some nice ones too.

 
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freddiefreelance
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 15, 2003
Posts: 2991
From: San Diego, Ca.
Posted: 2007-02-23 3:21 pm   Permalink

I have some pictures from the Aku-Tiki Room at Andris Waunee Farm in Kewanee, Il, that show some of their murals that I need to U/L & post.
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jpmartdog
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 27, 2005
Posts: 650
From: Amesbury, Mass
Posted: 2007-02-23 4:00 pm   Permalink

Can't wait to see those murals freddie...., and any of you so cal t-cers, if you could post the Damons murals !

 
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tikigreg
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Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 1161
From: ClubTiki
Posted: 2007-02-23 4:20 pm   Permalink

Here's a quick taste of the Damon's murals:



 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11169
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2007-02-23 6:08 pm   Permalink

...if only that big guy wouldn't be blocking half of it!

 
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teaKEY
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 09, 2004
Posts: 3664
From: The thumb !
Posted: 2007-02-23 6:37 pm   Permalink

OH, I just thought that head was apart of the picture. See how the guy is resting the shell on his head.

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[ This Message was edited by: teaKEY 2007-02-23 18:37 ]


 
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tedtiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 06, 2004
Posts: 304
From: Sunny Springfield Illinois
Posted: 2007-02-23 6:48 pm   Permalink

Here's some from the Aku-Tiki room I took on New Years eve.





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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11169
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2007-02-23 7:40 pm   Permalink

That is so HOT ! ....the top one, that is.

No, but really, never seen anything like those! That's why I love Polynesian pop: The variety with which different people interpreted the tradition in so many individual ways. Great.




[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2007-02-23 19:47 ]


 
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puamana
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 02, 2002
Posts: 291
From: Seattle, WA
Posted: 2007-02-23 11:00 pm   Permalink

Excellent thread ! Old postcards & brochures have great documentation of murals that existed in
restaurants no longer with us...Here's a few examples, starting with some early views of murals from
places past:

Aloha Room- Heathman Hotel, Portland, OR (mural by Portland artist Georgia Lee) :



Bob Brooks' 7 Seas, Hollywood:



Clifton's Pacific Seas, Los Angeles:



Curry's, Miami Beach :



The mural behind the stage in the Surf dining room, Honolulu Harry's Waikiki- Chicago:



Zamboanga, Los Angeles ( the mural behind the stage in the upper right image) :



Later views from places no longer with us:

The Polynesian Room at the Bali Hai- New Orleans:



The mural behind the stage in the Hawaiian dining room, Hawaiian Village- Cherry Hill, NJ



closer view:


Hawaiian Village, Tampa, FL:



Hut- Ft. Myers, FL:



And some recent photos from the Waldorf Hotel- Vancouver, Canada, 2005

This Hawaiian Islands mural greets you as you descend the curved stairs from the main level of the Waldorf ( where the Tahitian Room lounge is located), to the Polynesian Room downstairs:



The amazing mural in the Polynesian Room, with imagery from the Eugene Savage paintings for the Matson Lines:



This mural is behind the bar on lower level, just outside the Polynesian Room:





 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11169
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2007-02-24 01:36 am   Permalink

Thank you for your work, Mimi! Let's see what I can come up with then...

Let's start with some classic style ones:

Clifton's has probably the most mural postcards of any old place in circulation to this day:



Then there was the Kona Kove bar at the Stardust bowl, this pic is in the BOT, but I zoomed into the back bar mural:


Here the remnants of the Underwater mural at the Chin Tiki, Detroit:


And now for some less conventional, more off the beaten track watering holes. I love this place because everthing seems self made, no O.A. or Witco or anything recognizable in sight:


Heddy's must have been "different" cause it showed some nudity in its mural:


For the next unusual mural home I chose Tiny's Hut, up in Walnut Creek, CA. While the outside sign was cool, the building itself could have easily been called "Tiny's Bunker":

..and the inside had no exotic decor what so ever...but wait, what's that to the right?:


A damn fine mural, and one WITH a Tiki, which is a rare occurence for murals. Looks like Tiny blew his budget on the mural, and then had no money for thatch and floats left...

And last not least, this color atrocity, the Tahiti Lounge in Jacksonville, Florida. The color scheme speaks of late 60s, and if anybody knows when drop ceilings were introduced, we know a date for the beginning of the decline of Tiki Bars...


..fittingly, it has Witco on the walls, but what happend on the wall behind the stage? Once we zoom in, we can differentiate some details, but some remain cryptic:


An example for the wide variety of mural art. The foursided modern Moai are the coolest thing about this place.


 
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