Tiki Carver at The Westin Princeville – Kauai

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Blame my sporadic posting on an especially jet-setting July. We just got back from New York, but earlier this month we were lucky enough to spend a week in Hawaii on the island of Kaua’i.

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Even looking back at my own photos I can hardly believe how beautiful it was. From the Kalalau Valley (above) and the Na Pali Coast to Waimea Canyon to Hanalei Bay, the landscape was so varied and breathtaking.

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I knew there would be some tiki sightings on the trip, but I hadn’t expected them to start with the resort we were staying at. Everyday a couple local vendors would set up by the plantation-style main building of The Westin Princeville, and on our first day there happened to be a tiki carver.

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He was mostly whittling away, much to the fascination of passing children, but I thought it was an interesting juxtaposition when he started working on his iPad. In addition to tikis in many sizes, he also had carvings of turtles, whales, an octopus and other sea creatures.

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An intricately detailed (and heavy!) war club with rope and feathers caught my eye, but I decided to think about it instead of purchasing it on the spot. Of course, when I came back the next day he had already sold it. I later saw some of his carvings for sale at Havaiki Oceanic and Tribal Art, but more on that soon.

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Tiki Art at WonderGround Gallery at Downtown Disney

Hipster Mickey by Jerrod Maruyama

Last month a new art and retail concept made its debut at Downtown Disney at Disneyland. WonderGround Gallery seems to give their artists a fair amount of freedom in representing the classic characters, like this “Hipster Mickey” designed by Jerrod Maruyama. (His portfolio shows he can even make a can of Spam look super cute, and there are also more photos of WonderGround on his blog).

Nemo and the Tank Gang by Calef Brown

Of course, one of the main pieces that caught my eye from Disney’s announcement was “Nemo and the Tank Gang.” In it, Calef Brown depicts the aquarium setting, complete with one of the tikis, from “Finding Nemo.” (That film is another instance of Pixar sneaking tikis into scenes.)

Tiki Fest by Calef Brown

While browsing Brown’s web site, I also found more tiki-inspired art, like Tiki Fest, an original illustration commissioned by Los Angeles magazine.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to checking out the WonderGround Gallery for myself. Between the Art Deco-style stores on Buena Vista Street and the new tiki mugs for sale at Trader Sam’s, it seems like Disneyland just keeps getting better and better at taking my money!

For more information, and to see much more of the art, visit WonderGroundGallery.com.

Previous Posts about Tiki Art

The Contemporary Idol Art Show at Modernism Week
Tiki Bob Art Show at the Tonga Hut