Archive for the ‘Tiki and Tribal Art’ Category

The Tonga Room

Friday, September 11th, 2009

The Tonga Room

The Tonga Room

On Labor Day K and I went to The Tonga Room, a tiki bar located in the basement of our hotel, The Fairmont, in San Fransisco. I’m not gonna rate the drinks or the price, but it was a fun tiki themed experience. Usual bar and grill fare with $20-$35 dinners and $10 cocktails. Some good some bad, but all in all a fun place.


It’s a little sparse on tikis, and in the vein of the Tiki Room at Disneyland.


Good over all, fruity and full of booze, $10 each is the lowest price, up to $17.

The Tonga Room

The Tonga Room


It was a cover band when we went on a sunday night. It was a $5 cover and not too bad. They play on a boat that floats in the middle of the room in a pool of water(by the way the Tonga room used to be an indoor pool at the Fairmont, so thats where the water comes from.)

The Tonga Room

If you dine there you get to sit in the boat house. This has a thatched roof, and boats slung from the ceiling, but it is the least tiki-riffic area of the whole joint.

The Tonga Room

If you sit in the cocktail area, you get more tiki fun and decorations.

The Tonga Room

The Tonga Room

The Tonga Room

The Tonga Room

The Tonga Room

The Tonga Room

The Tonga Room

Last but not least, the dance floor is the deck of a pirate ship, with a giant tiki guarding it.

The Tonga Room

Check out the Tonga Room if your in San Fran, it’s good.

The Last Vacation – No time lost

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

This weekend K and I took off to San Fransicso for Labor Day weekend. We spent the weekend going to all the art and science museums. I had heard that the De Young Museum was having a display of African masks and statues and some photographs by some famous photographers, but I didn’t really have an idea of what was going to be there. Well, King Tut was there on display, but sans a mummy, I wasn’t interested in looking at gold stuff and old jars with a million other tourists and paying extra to do it. What I didn’t know about the De Young Museum was that it is home to an awesome collection of tribal and ancient art and artifacts.

Here are some highlights:

Asmat Ancestor Skull
Asmat Ancestor Skull

Asmat Ancestor Skull
Asmat Ancestor Skull

Dayak Carving
Dayak Carving

Tiki from Samoan Islands
Samoan Tiki

Skull Reliquary from New Guinea

Decorative Shields




While I didn’t make anything for Halloween over the 3 day weekend, I got a whole bunch of ideas to try and squeeze in this years haunt.

Nothing like some field study for inspiration

Monday, May 18th, 2009

I just got back from Hawaii last week. I saw some cool tikis and got some new ideas for Haunted Tiki Island.

Here are some tikis from Pu’uhonua o Honaunau:

Tiksi from Pu'uhonua o Honaunau

Tikis from Pu'uhonua o Honaunau

Tiki from Pu'uhonua o Honaunau

Tiki from Pu'uhonua o Honaunau

Designing Haunted Tiki island (part 3)

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Gateway to Haunted Tiki Island
Just a quick post today. This is a sketch of our haunt sign from 2007. When I drew it out, I tried to make it to scale, and I’m not a technical drawer, but if I actually built this, then I would just need to scale up the drawing to get a very close copy in real life.

So this what it looked like in 2007 when it was finished:

I made this from DOW blue insulation foam, and carved wood texture into it with a wooden sculpting knife. I painted it and washed it in gray and black to look like really old wood. This is one of the projects I finished at 1 am the morning of Halloween. I embellished the skull to look more like an ancestral skull.(follow that link to some really cool stuff).

Haunted Tiki Island Entrance 2008
This year (2008) I decided to make a new look for the sign, because it is one of the mood setting pieces of the haunt. I thought last years sign was too much Haunted, and not enough Tiki Island. I added some tropical flowers I bought at Michael’s and made a new skull based on a Palawan ancestor skull. I repainted the white lettering of the sign with Glow in the Dark paint to make it pop under the black lights. The skull is misted with black light hairspray.

Palawan inspired skull

The Palawan Skull orginal:

Designing Haunted Tiki island (part 2)

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Sometimes its good when props don’t come out like they looked in your head. Whereas the last post featured a giant tiki mask that is almost a verbatim replica of the original drawing, sometimes it’s good to just keep working till it looks good. This is one such case.

The final prop:
JungleRot - scarecrow tree

Let’s jump forward a year to 2008. This is a prop or a scene setter that Patty and I came up with. Patty thought it would be cool to put some skulls up on the branches of a tree in the yard that had died of blight, and was mostly stripped bare of limbs, just waiting to be felled and diced up into fire wood. She said we could do anything we wanted since it was getting cut down right after Halloween.

This is how it looked in the first sketch. Some good ideas, some ho-hum:
Tree props

Then a couple weeks later I drew this. It’s getting closer:
bamboo scarecrow

and here’s what I ended up with. Here is a daytime shot:
scarecrow 006

In the end we had to skip on the palm frond tiki masks because we couldn’t find the right one, but instead used palm fans from Calleana’s ranch and spattered them with red paint. The effect was better because it might have been too busy with tiki faces all over the tree, as the tree itself was surrounded with props already.

So if that prop doesn’t look like you planned, just work on it till it looks cool. Don’t get frustrated, don’t give up. Just keep working!