As close as I can figure....
it really started around 1966. My
uncle was a surfer, and he gave my dad a three foot stone Tiki as a gift.
My dad put it out under the big tree next to my play house, where it stood
for almost twenty years until said tree was cut down and the Tiki disappeared.
But back then that Tiki was about as close to magic as it gets. It made an
impression I guess. I have been carving Tikis as long as I can remember, I grew up in the woods, so pocket knives and sticks to carve were abundant. Butit was about 1991 in San francisco that I started collecting Tiki Mugs. Back then you could get them all day long for a quarter. A friend of mine introduced me to Tradr Sams, and I was hooked. I started carving little necklaces to give to the waitresses and bartenders, Then carving them for friends, then friends of friends. But
things really got going in early 1993 on a drive up north of San Francisco to the town of gualala.
We brought along a Tiki to leave at the house we rented, and on the long drive
the question arose, aside from myself, where can one get a good Tiki? The local Tiki bars turned up nothing, souvenir-wise. There was,
of course, Hawaii, but that was too involved for the average potential Tiki
seeker. I mean, where can a normal working Joe go to get a decent Tiki necklace or Key-chain in
Nowhere. It was decided right then and there that what was
needed was a simple source for fun Tiki products that would cater to the
Tiki needs of everyone! A place that would be the King of Tikis! Not long after that came the first version of the Tiki King Catalog. basically a couple of xerox copies stapled together.
Back then the two questions I got asked most were:
"What exactly is a Tiki?
And usually following with...
"Who would want one of those?
I found out.
In the years since those humble beginnings it has gone from word of mouth, to a printed catalog, to a websight, to a physical retail store. I have sold my Paintings, original Art carvings and reproductions world wide. My work has also received mention and / or critical acclaim in several pubications, as well as National and International Magazines, including: Shape, Barracuda, Surfer Girl, Porthole Cruise ship Magazine, Tattoo burst, Fretboard Journal, the Santa Cruz GoodTimes, the Press Banner, The Santa Cruz Sentinal, and The Tiki News. I have done eightteen of the most successful designs for the leading American Ukulele company, "The Magic Fluke, LLC".(which have sold tens of thousands worldwide) Some of my original Ukulele art designs can be seen in "The visual history of the Ukulele", as well as "Tiki Art Now!" and two of my Ukuleles were displayed at the NAMM Museum of Making Music, as examples of Art in Ukuleles and Modern Lutherie. I have done original painted Ukuleles and artwork for Celebrities such as Greg Hawks (The Cars), Todd Rungren, and Bette Midler. I am also a Musician, and have released Four CD's, three solo, and the fourth with my band "The Idol Pleasures".
I am also a drummer with the band "Wicked Tinkers".
My ukulele music has been used in films, and even for marketing by a major Rum Company. (At my request, they paid me in Rum)
I am also an ordained Minister and a Doctor, so whether you need to get married, or just a prescription for a Mai-Tai, give me a shout.
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