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Tiki Central Forums » » Creating Tiki » » Other Crafts » » Art by Swamp Fire aka Doug Horne
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Art by Swamp Fire aka Doug Horne
Swamp Fire
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 31, 2003
Posts: 1092
From: Long Beach, CA
Posted: 2006-05-02 3:28 pm   Permalink

When creating my book with most of my tiki inspired art in it I wanted to write a fictitious story around the Swamp Fire Lounge, my fictional tiki temple. The story opens the book and I think it adds a little something more than just some paintings. I was thinking of a story you might find in a mens magazine from the 1950's, kind of cheesy but fun at the same time. I had a great time writing it even though writing is not a strong point for me. Below is the story, I thought you guys would enjoy it. Added some paintings I did that relate to the story.

Surviving the Head-Hungry Javaro Tribe!

The year was 1958 and Jack Masters was living in Manhattan working as a staff artist for the R. L. Powers Advertising Agency. After 10 years with Powers he felt the company had drained all of his creative energy like a vampire feeding on one of its victims. His job consisted of pasting up ads for the back of comic books: "X-Ray" Specs, Hey Skinny! Charles Atlas ads, Super Sea-Monkeys, and the rest. For an artist this was the lowest of the low. He knew his talent was being wasted but had no idea how to escape the rut. After years of his boss yelling, "Make the logo bigger!" and "No green, I hate green!" he was ready for a change. Little did he know that change was up the street and just around the corner.

After a long day at the office Masters clocked out and started on the walk to his studio apartment. Like most days he was tired and had a slight headache from inhaling rubber cement fumes. When he hit the corner of 3rd Ave and St. Marks he changed his usual travel routine. Jack didn't know what possessed him but he found himself walking down St. Marks headed for the park. As he walked up the street he saw a bar he had never seen before. It was a large A-frame structure with a palm-thatched roof straddled by two giant Moi Tikis with three-foot flames shooting from the tops of their heads. The walls of the building were made of flagstone framed with bamboo. Towering over the structure was a large neon sign that read, Swap Fire Lounge. He had a hard time understanding how he could have missed a place like this in the middle of the concrete jungle! Given his state of mind there was no way he was going to skip a chance to have a drink there. When he walked in it was like being transported to another place and time. On the walls hung bamboo-framed velvet paintings of female nudes. In the center of the room was a pond and a Tiki fountain surrounded by lush tropical plants. The room was lit only by candles in fishnet-wrapped red glass globes that kept most everything in darkness. In the background, mixed with the sound of flowing water, played exotic music unlike anything Masters had heard before. Immediately he knew this place could become a regular hangout.

When he sat down at the bar the bartender recommended that Jack try a Zombie, a drink with three types of rum in it. Three types of rum sounded like a ticket to paradise so he ordered one. While the bartender made the drink Jack noticed a shrunken head hanging behind the bar. Near the cash register was a sign that read, "Unruly customers pay with their heads!" With its sewn-shut eyes and mouth and long matted hair, the head was quite a sight. He had done a number of comic book ads for phony shrunken heads but the head behind the bar actually looked authentic. As the bartender served the drink Jack noticed he was wearing a wooden shrunken head pendant around his neck. After a few swigs of the grog Masters found himself enjoying the shrunken heads and the atmosphere of the room. With a few more swigs the room started to sway back and forth, like he was riding Thor Heyerdahl's Kon-Tiki raft. The swaying soon turned to spinning and he started seeing things: did that puffer fish hanging from the ceiling just wink at me? Are the nudes on the wall walking out of their picture frames? He quickly lost control completely and did a face plant on the top of the bar. It seems Jack had been slipped a Mickey Finn!

The sound of drumming became louder and louder as Masters came out of his drugged haze. He found himself sitting in the dirt tied to a Tiki totem. His head throbbed and he felt ragged and disheveled. He didn't know how long he had been out. He was in a jungle clearing lit by a fire a few yards away. Dancing around the fire with excited gyrations were jungle tribesmen and topless women. Any other time this would be great fun to watch but this was far from fun. Off to one side was what looked like a voodoo witch doctor seated on the ground in front of a small primitive wooden table covered with various objects. With only the fire to light the scene Jack had a hard time making out what was resting on the table. As his eyesight adjusted to the darkness he realized with horror that the objects on the table were shrunken heads, each with its own ghastly expression. His next thought was that this was either an incredibly elaborate practical joke or he was in line to be the next victim of a head-hungry jungle tribe. From the looks of things, this was the real deal!

With the tribesmen lost in their dancing Masters knew this might be his only chance to escape. He struggled to free himself from the twine ropes by rubbing them against the rough surface of the Tiki pole. Sweat poured down his face.
Soon the rope began to fray and then it snapped apart. With his hands free he was able to slip away from the dimly lit scene. He dashed into the dense jungle and soon came to another clearing, this time dotted with a collection of thatched-roof huts. Fortunately there was not a person in sight and he darted towards a hut headed for freedom. As he passed the hut he tripped and fell over a pile of burlap bags that were obscured by the darkness. Once he got his bearings he noticed the contents of one of the bags spilled out on the ground. The bag was filled with small wooden Tikis, paintings done on rough paper, and what looked like a handmade book. The book stood out as something unusual and he instinctively grabbed it and ran back into the dark jungle.

The tale of how Jack Masters traveled the long and torturous path to the Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima, Peru and then on to a plane headed back to the United States will have to wait for another time. As he sat on the plane he overcame his exhaustion long enough to take a look at the book he had held on to as evidence of his bizarre encounter with the evil head-hunting tribe. It was titled, The Search for the Urban Tiki, which was just one of the book's strange features. It was bound with twine that resembled the rope used to bind him to the Tiki totem. At the ends of the twine were two bone beads in the shape of small human skulls. The book was covered in a strange green cork-like paper that looked handmade. The pages were filled with paintings of Tikis that looked to be from a different place and time. As Jack closed the unusual book he thought about the meaning of this incredible episode. He took it as a sign to return to the drawing and painting work that most interested him. When he returned to New York he quit his job at the advertising agency and started doing only the work he wanted to do.

Many months later, when he got up the nerve, he returned to the street where he first discovered the Swamp Fire Lounge. To his surprise he found a Walgreen's on the spot where the bar used to stand. 40 years later, the book still sits on his coffee table as a reminder that Jack Masters had survived meeting the head-hungry Jivaro tribe in the Peruvian Amazon.




_________________



The Art of Doug Horne
http://www.swampfirelounge.com/


 
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Monkeyman
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 04, 2003
Posts: 2365
From: Vista, CA
Posted: 2006-05-02 4:12 pm   Permalink

Its a great story and an even better book. Lots of eye candy. Fancy paper, a great collection of Doug Horne Art.

Got to spend a couple hours looking it over before Kon Tiki and thoroughly enjoyed it.


 
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Sam Gambino
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Joined: Dec 02, 2003
Posts: 2199
From: www.samgambino.com
Posted: 2006-05-02 8:55 pm   Permalink

Congrats, Doug! The artwork is superb as always. Also, I'm still digging that mug of yours too. It's right in eyeshot when I'm here at my computer.
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foamy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 15, 2004
Posts: 590
From: The Land of Pleasant Living
Posted: 2006-05-03 05:11 am   Permalink

I had always wondered about the meaning of your tag—now I know. Nice little piece and a great forward to your book. And, to echo everyone else—your work is excellent. I'm starting to notice your great high-lighting, particularly on the tikis. I really like your use of color, and the mood your work evokes works for me. I look forward to your posts. Guess I gotta start saving.

 
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Digitiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 22, 2004
Posts: 754
From: L.A. baby!
Posted: 2006-05-03 09:31 am   Permalink

I have to go with the crowd! I own 4 of Doug's prints and they are wonderful. I always get lots of comments when people visit. There is a definite mood in his art. And the best part is, its financially accessible.

 
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Sneakytiki
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Joined: Mar 31, 2003
Posts: 1795
From: Boise, Idaho
Posted: 2006-05-03 7:05 pm   Permalink

Thanks for the story. The picture looking and story reading was a nice escape, now back to huffing the rubber cement.

 
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cheeky half
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 22, 2002
Posts: 795
From: Tucson, AZ
Posted: 2006-05-17 2:02 pm   Permalink

Bravo! That was a good read. Just what I needed to get away from the blahs of the day. It's great to have the image and the story together.

When does the movie come out? I here you can get Tom Cruise pretty cheaply nowadays... ugh.

Encore! Encore!

cheeky half
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hewey
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Joined: Sep 14, 2004
Posts: 4278
From: Sydney, Australia
Posted: 2006-05-17 8:23 pm   Permalink

Good story man. Now I gotta go back to work because lunch time is over...

Man I wish I had the cash for one of those books!

Great art, great workmanship in the books, great storytelling.
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www.kustomkultureaustralia.com

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Swamp Fire
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 31, 2003
Posts: 1092
From: Long Beach, CA
Posted: 2006-05-18 7:56 pm   Permalink

Thanks everyone for the kind words.
I only have 8 more books to make of the 25 and I'm done with the project.
I'm really tired of hand tearing all of those pages not to mention the glue fumes.
_________________



The Art of Doug Horne
http://www.swampfirelounge.com/


 
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Chongolio
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 02, 2002
Posts: 2765
From: The Coast of Kauai
Posted: 2006-05-18 8:39 pm   Permalink

That is COOL!
I dig the vision man! I also understand the creativity, effort and time that it takes to pull off such a project. And with your attention to detail...WTF when do you sleep?
Kick ass Job Swampz,

Chongolio
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Chongolio.com
Stoke & Flow
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Monkeyman
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 04, 2003
Posts: 2365
From: Vista, CA
Posted: 2006-05-18 8:44 pm   Permalink

Swamp Fire and the Mrs. are super top notch TC talent.

That book is awesome and already have my dibs on one of them.

An artists work is never done.....

Glue fumes? Is that why youre such a mellow guy Swampfire?
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Swamp Fire
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 31, 2003
Posts: 1092
From: Long Beach, CA
Posted: 2006-06-25 11:11 am   Permalink

Hi all, below is a painting I did for the Catalina Tiki Fest show in August.



_________________
I survived the head-hungry Jivaro tribe!
http://www.swampfirelounge.com/

[ This Message was edited by: Swamp Fire 2006-06-25 11:18 ]


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The Granite Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 02, 2005
Posts: 810
From: Nashua, NH
Posted: 2006-06-25 11:17 am   Permalink

Cool! Your monkeys are becoming stars on their own! They should have their own spin-off or something. Am I making any sense? I guess I'm saying your monkeys are so cool looking they deserve their own sitcom! (the blowfish lamp could be their neighbor or something)

[ This Message was edited by: The Granite Tiki 2006-06-25 11:18 ]


 
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teaKEY
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 09, 2004
Posts: 3664
From: The thumb !
Posted: 2006-06-25 12:03 pm   Permalink

Cool stuff as usual. You have been playing a big part in the way tiki looks these days with all the prints and you working a good deal with Tiki farm. I good partnership

 
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OnaTiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 24, 2003
Posts: 409
From: San Diego, CA
Posted: 2006-06-25 12:10 pm   Permalink

Cool poster!!
I see another Swampfire inspired carving in my future.


 
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