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Tiki Central Forums Creating Tiki Other Crafts Discussion on the "objectives" of tiki art�
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Discussion on the "objectives" of tiki art�
hewey
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 14, 2004
Posts: 4278
From: Sydney, Australia
Posted: 2006-12-28 9:36 pm   Permalink

One thing Ive been mulling over for a while, particularly since the �shot in the arm thread�, is the issue/topic of whether tiki art/tiki artists have an objective. Without a doubt, creating good looking work is paramount to pretty much all tiki art.

But when comparing tiki art to more mainstream/highbrow art, one of the biggest differences I see is a lack of political and social observations/criticisms. I would suggest that very few tiki artists create work that challenges the audience to think beyond �oooh, that�s pretty�.

Which is fair enough. For most of us tiki art is about great times and good old-fashioned escapism and romanticism. From a sociological/psychological perspective, many of us were self-confessed nerds at school. And its well known that many nerds escape into fantasy worlds via books, movies, cubby houses etc. Given the global political/war issues, and everyday issues like bills, work etc, its not surprising we like to kick back with our feet up, Mai Tai in hand, and escape the everyday. Hey, that�s how Poly Pop started isn�t it? And its great to do this sitting in your bar area, admiring the bright and fanciful colours of your Shag print.

But sometimes I find myself wanting more. Wanting a bit more substance, a bit more bite? A proverbial shot in the arm. Take Shag for example. His art looks great, without a doubt. But not many of his pieces REALLY draw me into his paintings. There�s a few that encourage you to develop your own backstory, like the pieces along the lines of the magic 8 ball � �signs point to yes�, and the piece �Heavy religious conversation�. But by and large, it�s a case of �That�s pretty. Next� for me.

I find the art of Thor a lot more engaging. Again, stunning, STUNNING art. Positively drool worthy in my books. As he has commented before, a lack of people in his paintings encourages people to imagine themselves in the painting (theres that escapism thing again). And pieces like his drink making machine series, they make you grin and look at them for ages imaging the machine in full operation. I also love stuff like spending ages looking at art from artists like Little Lost Tikis, with soooo many hidden tikis, or the details and use of light in tiki shark art�s work. Art that is pretty and engages you with the subject/scene.

But I struggle to find tiki art that goes beyond this level of engagement. Art that grabs you by the balls, stares you down, and asks �What the hell are you looking at?!� Within poly pop there are issues that people get fired up about � take the whole traditional vs. poly pop style clash, demolition of old tiki bars etc etc. Why don�t we see tiki art making social commentaries on these issues? How about a depressed tiki sitting outside an old A-frame bar with an eviction/demolition notice on the door? Or even tiki themed art that makes criticism of global politics or something?

Within wider �lowbrow� art, there is more emphasis on �darker� more political and social themed work. But even there, there�s the whole so-called �unibrow� phenomenon of �same-old same-old� art with no punch.

So, basically I want to discuss �the point� of tiki art. Yes, I totally agree that primarily aesthetic art is, and always will be the main focus of the majority of tiki artists. But does tiki art need a shot in the arm, a bit more punch?


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[ This Message was edited by: hewey 2006-12-30 19:39 ]


 
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teaKEY
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 09, 2004
Posts: 3664
From: The thumb !
Posted: 2006-12-29 08:01 am   Permalink

Hey Hewey, I'll bite

I don't think that their is enough art talk here and at the same time, much art is being produced.
" I would suggest that very few tiki artists create work that challenges the audience to think beyond oooh, thats pretty." -HEWEY

I would totally not agree with this. I see new ideas born everyday here. Like in all fields, if I see only one new thing in the area that interest me each time I look, I'm happy.

"Take Shag for example. His art looks great, without a doubt. But not many of his pieces REALLY draw me into his paintings., But by and large, its a case of Thats pretty. Next for me."

I thought that Shag was great the first time that I saw him. It was fresh from the other stuff and then the next time that I saw him, I thought yep, I see the styling he uses and then the next time, yep nothings changed. Recently Shag did tried something new with in his style with the detail painting and he probably is the only one to have social issues in his painting with his latest painting. The painting with the televisions that are live to national disasters.
I wouldn't use Shag as a example. Most famous tiki painter, and not the best tiki painter. I think that Miles has the best understanding of tiki and (for me) the tiki mug. He came back with darker colors and different applications with the fluorescent colors. He said in Tiki MAgazine that he was honored to have Shag buy one of his painting. Shag can sell his painting for 4-5 times more and they aren't a 1/3 as good.

I enjoyed seeing Tiki Tony work his paintings into 3-D art. The mugs and the bird heads which is what I would have bought for Tiki Art Now. And yes, Dr. Seuss did the same thing with mounted head, But I didn't think to do it again until I saw Tony do it. Crazy Al pulled out all the stops to make that PNG skull painting with the best tiki frame ever. That was a big surprise. I think Benzart did his best recently with probably one of the best Moai to ever see the light to date for me, and I'm a Moai freak. Really, how many ways can a Moai be done, there are limits to work under. Munktiki hit the nail on the head with the Kustomas mugs that are very new ideas for them, more work and creativity to pull from a given shape.

I think that this year has given me more to think about with tiki. Maybe tikis best year. We had to go through all the history of tiki to get to this moment.

Do I want a depressed tiki hanging on my wall?? I first thought no, but hell yeah. Its a human side of life. Can tiki change the world, sure it can, but its changes are little and made within a small group that is growing.

Are all the artist here on TC giving the shot in the arm, no. But everything takes time. You got to get to the base on the mountain before you can start to climb.


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Capt'n Skully
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 28, 2005
Posts: 404
From: The Lost Lagoon
Posted: 2006-12-29 1:03 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-12-28 21:36, hewey wrote:

.......But I struggle to find tiki art that goes beyond this level of engagement. Art that grabs you by the balls, stares you down, and asks What the hell are you looking at?! Within poly pop there are issues that people get fired up about take the whole traditional vs. poly pop style clash, demolition of old tiki bars etc etc. Why dont we see tiki art making social commentaries on these issues? How about a depressed tiki sitting outside an old A-frame bar with an eviction/demolition notice on the door? Or even tiki themed art that makes criticism of global politics or something?




There are some artists here that go rather unnoticed as such, and they are the collectors themselves. I know several people with incredible collections that will give you that "what the hell am I looking at" feeling.. From this perspective, each piece of art (or mug) becomes a part of a larger composition- the entire tiki environment/collective they've put together becomes the work of art itself- And each individual piece holds a unique story/history adding an initially unseen color.

I think the demolition of old tiki bars would make an excellent topic for a piece or series.. An also think it already exist in private collections.

Maybe not said as well as it could have been, but that's 2 cents to throw in the volcano..


 
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saxotica
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 03, 2005
Posts: 213
Posted: 2006-12-29 2:50 pm   Permalink

I don't think Art is valued very highly here on Tiki Central. I think what is valued here is Craftsmanship. It seems [to me] that folks would rather see a perfectly executed copy of something they've seen before [ie. a Ku] than anything different.

 
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hewey
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 14, 2004
Posts: 4278
From: Sydney, Australia
Posted: 2006-12-29 3:55 pm   Permalink

Upfront one thing I didnt say that I should have acknowledged is none of the art I have produced attempts to deal with issues of this nature.

Quote:
I don't think that their is enough art talk here and at the same time, much art is being produced.


Totally agree.

Quote:
Quote:
I would suggest that very few tiki artists create work that challenges the audience to think beyond oooh, thats pretty. -HEWEY


I would totally not agree with this. I see new ideas born everyday here. Like in all fields, if I see only one new thing in the area that interest me each time I look, I'm happy.


Okay, that came out wrong on my part. I agree that there is always new stuff that makes you think about quality of workmanship/technique etc. I meant beyond this stuff to more social questions like "why is the tiki depressed the bar is being torn down? What little things can I do to preserve poly pop culture, given that so much is being destroyed." I wasn't clear in saying that though.

Quote:
There are some artists here that go rather unnoticed as such, and they are the collectors themselves. I know several people with incredible collections that will give you that "what the hell am I looking at" feeling..


An interesting point captn, I hadn't considered the net effect of a poly pop collection as being art. And said clear enough

Quote:
I don't think Art is valued very highly here on Tiki Central. I think what is valued here is Craftsmanship. It seems [to me] that folks would rather see a perfectly executed copy of something they've seen before [ie. a Ku] than anything different.


I agree that craftmanship is valued most highly, but I still think people get a kick out of new interpretations of traditional items.

I got a PM from someone also saying they don't believe art is highly valued on TC. Their comment was that poly pop incorporates the usage of what were originally religous icons, of polynesian cultures which have already been highly impacted upon (think missionaries, colonialisation, and now the impacts of 'western' society via globalisation). So people are wary of using these icons to make social statements in art as a result.
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VanTiki
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Nov 25, 2005
Posts: 1019
From: Hawaii
Posted: 2006-12-29 4:03 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-12-29 14:50, saxotica wrote:
I don't think Art is valued very highly here on Tiki Central. I think what is valued here is Craftsmanship.



And thus the doors to the great Art vs. Craft debate have been thrown wide open!

Seriously, though - I feel that saxotica is onto something here. I am a great lover of the Arts and Crafts (aka Craftsman) movement in American design - as well as the Edo period in Japan. Both movements celebrated the beauty and craftsmanship of everyday objects. In a way - Tiki mugs do the same. They are functional art - a beautiful object that also serves a practical purpose. Does art have to do something more than simply be pleasing/interesting to the eye? Perhaps - maybe this it the litmus test for the difference between art and craft. One could argue that the Arts and Crafts movement had a deeper drive - shunning the mechanical drudgery in design spurned by the industrial revolution and attempting to bring humans in tough with the materials that surround them. Tiki mugs could be argued to have a deeper meaning as well - a talisman/reminder of a unique period of history, a touchstone to a forgotten place/mindset, an embodiment of a hidden and dark inner id, etc...

whew - I gotta get in the studio and start pushing some clay!

VanTiki

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[ This Message was edited by: VanTiki 2006-12-29 16:06 ]


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teaKEY
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 09, 2004
Posts: 3664
From: The thumb !
Posted: 2006-12-29 4:21 pm   Permalink

I think that Saxo is right. Art is one thing, craftmanship is different and craft is far another.

"Arts and crafts" is not art to me. I call "arts and craft" arts and crap. Craftmanship can is part of art and usaully is but art is usually not craftmanship.

But this posting started out as a tiki art objectives and I certainly have mine.

My Objectives:
Tikimugs should be tiki head, straight tops, and huge
Do different ideas for me in every mug (my first times).
get into art galleries
make them lighter stronger faster
Make tiki mugs into art



.


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VanTiki
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Nov 25, 2005
Posts: 1019
From: Hawaii
Posted: 2006-12-29 4:54 pm   Permalink

Quote:

I call "arts and craft" arts and crap. Craftmanship can is part of art and usaully is but art is usually not craftmanship..



Whoo! Way to keep an open mind!
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Paipo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 22, 2006
Posts: 1886
From: Aotearoa / NZ
Posted: 2006-12-29 5:00 pm   Permalink

I'll throw in some other viewpoints here seeing this is a pretty interesting topic.

The simple answer is, it's called "lowbrow" for a reason - Tiki is an art style that essentially serves as window dressing for (and a celebration of) an escapist culture and lifestyle. We also have the slightly less frivolous aspect of study and reproduction of artifacts. Amongst the best practitioners I see it as a homage to the unknown craftsmen of Polynesia who left such an amazing legacy of work in the world's museums. A good example being
this thread here, where things come full circle and an artist is able to pass the knowledge back to someone who has been disconnected from the source.

For Tiki to tackle issues and raise questions would defeat the purpose of it all. If I want art that provokes questions I'll go to a big city gallery (and I often do). If I want something that I think looks cool and makes me smile or dream of far-away places, I'll come here. I have much more fun carving tikis and dealing with passionate collectors than I do trying to climb the ladder of the contemporary jewellery / gallery scene here, where everyone wants some sort of deep meaning behind the motivation for your designs. It would be tragic to see the fun sucked out of the whole tiki genre and for it to become yet another ego and bullshit driven facet of the fine art world. I think ideas along the line of the sad tiki outside the demolished A-frame might work, but would risk veering into the realm of 9/11 and Dale Earnhardt tribute style kitsch that ultimately becomes self-parodying.

All that said, there is plenty of art around in New Zealand using tikis from Maori and Polynesian culture to make political or cultural statements, by both indigenous and European artists. But is it "Tiki" as we know it? Some of the art from the US shows I've seen would probably be trashed by political activists if it was shown here (Marcia Brady with a moko springs to mind). Cultural appropriation is a very thorny issue in NZ.

Here's one:

Often Liked, Occasionally Beaten - Wayne Youle 2003
Quote:
Often Liked, Occasionally Beaten is a suite of multicoloured resin tiki lollipops. This work was inspired by, and made in response to, the blatant use of Maori art forms in tourism, and elsewhere, to express a sense of New Zealand identity as something exotic and different. The six different flavoured tiki are available as individual works or in groups.



We bought these two in Rarotonga:


Hearts That Belong to Te Enua - Mahiriki Tangaroa 2006


When Faith Came to Pass- Mahiriki Tangaroa 2006

Quote:
Mahiriki Tangaroa - who is currently based in Rarotonga - produced a series which looked at the internal and external influences of being in the islands. Much of her work revolves around this theme when having been raised in New Zealand brings to the foreground a number of social and cultural issues. The traditional beliefs we once held are fast evaporating giving way to the ideas of consumption, media and latest technologies. The work plays between the past and present, reflecting our past beliefs and current value system.



There are literally dozens if not hundreds more examples to be found, as using Maori and Polynesian motifs is very much in vogue at the moment and has been for the last 10 years or so.
So, there is art out there that asks questions or examines issues while having an identifiable tiki component, but it doesn't really have much to do with Polynesian Pop. It has tikis in it, but it's not Tiki!





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pdrake
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 13, 2006
Posts: 1767
From: las vegas
Posted: 2006-12-29 7:20 pm   Permalink

good grief. take a class already. it's called lowbrow for a reason.

 
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RevBambooBen
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 12, 2002
Posts: 7445
From: Huntikington Beach
Posted: 2006-12-29 8:03 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-12-29 14:50, saxotica wrote:
It seems [to me] that folks would rather see a perfectly executed copy of something they've seen before [ie. a Ku] than anything different.



Cheers!
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saxotica
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 03, 2005
Posts: 213
Posted: 2006-12-29 8:29 pm   Permalink

?

 
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Gigantalope
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 01, 2004
Posts: 913
From: Shinola, California
Posted: 2006-12-29 8:51 pm   Permalink

There was a fantastic thread a year or so back about a gallery opening in London (I think it was London) where people had rendered Polinesian Images with crap from modern culture like Mc Donalds Arches...I would consider that a splendid use of Tiki in a modern and sort of cutting edge context. (Though that sort of mixing of iconography is a bit trite)

I am 'probly alone in this, but I feel in this age of over-sensitivity and law-suites, we've lost some of our ability to laugh at ourselves. People might make more risks in a less PC Climate with cultural and religious icons.

Example:

Link to Concept Car Dodge "Kahuna"
http://www.willshireltd.com/Concepts/Kahuna.html

Link to petition to stop the production
http://www.petitiononline.com/Kahuna04/petition.html

It's interesting to consider what of modern "Tiki" (both Art and Craft)would be produced if it were not for it's commercial value. Who would "Produce" just to be doing it?

It seems to me the one group that would still be there in large numbers would be the Musicians, perhapes more than artists of other mediums considered "Tiki".

Thoughts?


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Bowana
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Nov 10, 2006
Posts: 1164
From: La Mesa, CA
Posted: 2006-12-29 9:50 pm   Permalink

I don't think Tiki art is about making political or social statements. I believe it's more about enjoying one's self, and for the enjoyment of others who appreciate it.

Collectors play a vital role. Someone who collects dog figurines for example, would not want, nor would expect any of their dogs to be any kind of controversial art piece. Their collection reflects a personal interest and enthusiasm for the subject matter.

It's about conveying good feelings and having fun with it.

That is my reason for doing it.


 
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RevBambooBen
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 12, 2002
Posts: 7445
From: Huntikington Beach
Posted: 2006-12-29 10:19 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-12-29 20:29, saxotica wrote:
?



I say,

Knock knock.

And, you say, who's there?
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