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Tiki Central Forums Locating Tiki Oceanic Arts, Whittier, CA (store)
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Oceanic Arts, Whittier, CA (store)
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 01, 2002
Posts: 1676
From: next stop Hulaville!
Posted: 2004-01-17 2:22 pm   Permalink

Name:Oceanic Arts
Street:12414 Whittier Blvd

Web Pages:


Taken from the introduction in "Night of the Tiki"

Schmaltz's carved icons have tikified hotels, restaurants, bars and apartment buildings across the country for decades. In 1956, he and his partner Bob Van Oosting founded Oceanic Arts, an Oceanic art emporium outside of Los Angeles. Together they designed South Seas paraphernalia for everything from Hollywoods sets to legendary restaurants and bars. Their most famous installations include Disneyland's Enchanted Tiki Room, the thatched-roof scenery of Gilligan's Island and the Vietnam villiage set used for the film Forrest Gump.

What I have to say:
There are no words! What a great place, ran by greater people! Bob, Leroy and Susan! What a wonderful way to spend the afternoon! All under one roof....Tiki's, quite a mug collection, Tiki's, lamps, Tiki's, bamboo galore, Tiki's, matting, Tiki's, party rentals, Tiki's, Blowfish lamps, Tiki's, authentic Polynesian artifacts, Tiki's, Bob and Leroy, oh...did I mention Tiki's? Bob and Leroy have the stories...they were so friendly and hospitable, they took the time to talk to me and showed me old menus from the greats that are long gone, Don the Beachcombers, The Tahitian. Jeeez, too many, I can't remember them all. Thanks again guys, for letting me take up so much of your busy day, answering any and all of the many questions that I asked. It meant the world to me. I'm still smiling!

[ This Message was edited by: DawnTiki on 2004-03-04 17:25 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 08, 2003
Posts: 590
From: Southern California
Posted: 2004-01-17 3:35 pm   Permalink

Only the most awesome tiki werehouse in the world! Glad that the web site is finally up!

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Unga Bunga
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 06, 2003
Posts: 5859
From: CaliTikifornia
Posted: 2004-01-17 11:09 pm   Permalink

Hi Dawntiki,
Is that blow fish literally in the fish float or is it just behind it? If it's inside, it's SOLD to Unga.
Nice pics.
Oh It Looks Good On You Though!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 01, 2002
Posts: 1676
From: next stop Hulaville!
Posted: 2004-01-17 11:20 pm   Permalink

Fishy is inside the float, there have been other pictures posted of him on TC, sadly he "snot" for sale. Somethings just can't be bought.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 06, 2003
Posts: 119
From: The Valley, like totally!
Posted: 2004-01-21 10:58 am   Permalink

OA is the bomb!!!! My wife and I make a trek there every saturday for supplies when we were building our tiki bar. The place is like Willy Wonka's chocolate factory for tiki lovers!! I met Bob on my first trip. He and all the other people there are very nice. If any of you are ever in the LA area, definately make a stop, you will not want to leave!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3836
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2004-01-21 8:10 pm   Permalink

Probably the most tikis under one roof anywhere. Purchased an amazing tiki lamp, although most tikis are only for rent, not for sale.

I hope they finally have added delivery and pick-up to their business. My car is not as big as my imagination and I have a birthday coming up.

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Mrs. B
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 12, 2003
Posts: 231
Posted: 2004-01-21 10:10 pm   Permalink

Can someone please be so kind as to give me directions?

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 03, 2002
Posts: 1500
From: Huntington Beach, California
Posted: 2004-01-21 10:59 pm   Permalink


Mrs. B wrote:
Can someone please be so kind as to give me directions?

Directions from your shop to OA are
here. Also, Oceanic Arts has a mini-map link here.

Happy Shopping!


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 08, 2003
Posts: 590
From: Southern California
Posted: 2004-01-22 7:38 pm   Permalink

Just come from an OA trip yesterday. Had to pick up some thatching for the outside tiki bar and indoor tiki office. The hubby and I had a super wonderful / very informative chat with Bob. He was kind enough to show us some photo albums filled with lots of the work they have done in the past for hotels, restaurants, parks, etc. The pictures were amazing!!! I love that place...the people are great and so are the tikis! No joke, I would work there for free. Maybe they will let me help out on the weekends, so I can get the Marquesan wall mounting. It's a little out of my budget ($720), but if I had the cash, I would get both of them! They are every bit worth the money and then some. They are so huge, so beautifully detailed...ok, I must stop, I'm drooling on my keyboard again.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 15, 2004
Posts: 464
From: Knoxville, TN
Posted: 2004-07-12 12:44 am   Permalink

[ This Message was edited by: TNTiki on 2004-11-06 18:15 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 23, 2003
Posts: 825
From: KS/MO
Posted: 2004-07-12 04:06 am   Permalink

Thanks, DawnTiki and TNTiki, for posting the pics. I can't imagine how much film I'd shoot in there. Maybe they should have an adopt-a-tiki program in which we could have our names on specific tikis and log in to find out what party or film production our tiki was lording over tonight. Nah, its just the sleep deprivation talking. I wonder how much of their stock is leased out at any given time, on average?

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 03, 2003
Posts: 165
From: Sakatamata Island
Posted: 2004-07-15 4:10 pm   Permalink

I read this great article from the LA Times recently about Oceanic Arts. Can't say that I've had the pleasure of stopping by, but if I ever find myself lost in Whittier, you'll know where to find me @;-).

BYLINE: Steven Barrie-anthony
CREDITLINE: Los Angeles Times
HEADLINE: 'Authentic' Hawaiiana may be from California

Blissfully splayed out on a Hawaiian beach, sipping rum from a
pineapple, it's hard to imagine that the rough-hewn, authentic-looking thatch
umbrella shielding you from the sun was likely made back home on the
mainland. Ditto for many of the tiki decorations at resorts, bars and even
tiki museums in Polynesia and the rest of the world.
If something looks Polynesian, chances are that LeRoy Schmaltz,
co-owner of Oceanic Arts in Whittier, Calif., had a hand in making it.
"It's super ironic," says Greg Escalante, a Polynesian art expert and
curator of the Copro/Nason Gallery in Culver City, near Los Angeles.
"The biggest existing tiki statue in Tahiti was made by Schmaltz, in
Whittier. Even in Tahiti, they somehow rely on Schmaltz."
Trader Joe's, Islands restaurants, Disneyland and many Nevada casinos
buy tiki decorations from Oceanic Arts. Schmaltz, 69, has helped design
dozens of TV and movie sets, including "Gilligan's Island" and "Forrest
Gump." He lays claim to overseeing the production of thousands of
tikis, and a similar number of totems, luau signs and pretty much any other
decoration loosely associated with the South Pacific.
He is considered royalty within the tiki art movement's three schools:
authentic archeological artifacts from the Pacific; Americana,
post-World War II interpretations in restaurants and bars; and new work by
artists such as Shag, who combines island motifs into retro-style
Schmaltz "is the king of the second school," says Doug Nason, co-author
of "Night of the Tiki: The Art of Shag, Schmaltz and Selected Primitive
Oceanic Carvings" (Last Gasp, 2001) and co-owner of Copro/Nason
Gallery. "Many people can't afford to go to the islands . . . and this
Americana movement is a substantial movement in itself. In that way, it's just
as important as ancient archeology."
Schmaltz, clad in a Hawaiian shirt, of course, strolls proudly through
his 10,000-square-foot workshop and warehouse, filled with
Polynesia-inspired objects that he built or refurbished. Everything is for sale or
rent. Shelves brim with tropical mats, thatched umbrellas, grass skirts
and carved wooden signs announcing "Aloha!" and "Welcome to the Luau!"
Leis spew from barrels everywhere.
He gestures toward hundreds of palm and redwood tiki statues and
totems, ranging from pocket size to more than 10 feet tall. "They have a
Polynesian flair," he says, "but they are imagination, fantasy."
Ersatz, indeed, but art nonetheless, according to Schmaltz -- a
distinction he has been trying to make since he was a senior in art at
California State University, Los Angeles, in 1956. After Schmaltz began
restoring Samoan tiki statues for a local importer, his professors were
reluctant to give him class credit for his tiki time.
"They told me that this is way below my station in life -- told me that
I wasn't worthy of being an art major. They didn't want me at school,"
Schmaltz recalls, still rankled.
A few classes short of his degree, Schmaltz left academia behind. He
and a college buddy, business major Robert Van Oosting, pooled what money
they had and set off for the South Seas in search of their own
Polynesian muses. In Tahiti, they met villagers "who hadn't seen white guys,"
Schmaltz remembers. "Kids cried."
The pair traveled to Fiji, to New Guinea. They were besieged by stormy
weather and almost shipwrecked, he says, but visited sites, museums and
shops with everything from drums to letter openers. When Schmaltz
returned home, his head was swimming with Polynesian imagery.
Schmaltz put chain saw to lumber and began constructing island objects
while Van Oosting handled the business side. At first, they filled
small orders, doing Hawaiian-themed signs for local bars, restaurants and
retailers, but in the 1960s Sea World, Epcot Center and companies around
the world put in big orders. The Rolling Stones hired Schmaltz to
decorate for parties, and Bob Dole hired him to carve signs for his
presidential campaign.
Converting a log into tiki can take a day, or a week if it's 7 feet
high. After the design is chalked onto a log, the chain saw is powered up.
Power tools and grinders are used to make finer points before the
indentations are chiseled out.
He plans to chisel out a few more good years. "Tiki is a form of
escapism," he says. "As long as the world is in turmoil, people always turn
to peaceful, pleasurable worlds -- and this is one of them."


Jamio Designs (jamio.com)-Taboo Tiki and Kustom Kulture Art

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 20, 2004
Posts: 168
Posted: 2004-07-22 09:21 am   Permalink

Oceanic Arts is the mainline source.

I remember back when I was doing my wedding, and I ran into Otto and Baby Doe at La Luz in LA. They hipped me to Oceanic Arts, and the rest is history.

I got half my wedding supplies there.

Someday I'll post the whole story.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 09, 2004
Posts: 10397
From: Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Posted: 2004-07-23 1:29 pm   Permalink

Thanks all for all the glorious info and pictures in this post.
Happy happyhappyhappy

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ookoo lady
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2004
Posts: 779
Posted: 2005-01-22 4:29 pm   Permalink

Krustiki and I just got back from our first trip to Oceanic Arts. What an amazing place! We didn't know that they closed so early (1:00 p.m. on saturday), and got there just as they closed. Leroy was nice enough to turn the lights and waterfall back on, and let us wander around for a little while. We'll definitely be back next week, early enough to buy something!

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