It all began in one of Ohau's last remaining Tiki Bars...
Honolulu - Saturday, October 6th, 2001. I am invited by some coworkers to check out a performance by Don Tiki at The Hawaiian Hut. I had no idea who Don Tiki was - had never been aware of either the existence of Exotica music or the amazing Hawaiian Hut tiki bar. Everything changed when the band took the stage and a waitress brought me a mai-tai served in a Tiki Mug. The mug and show were an epiphany of sorts. I was enthralled by both the escapist/adventure nature of tiki and the way the mug I was sipping out of was not just a mug. It was an artifact - a relic - a touchstone that transports the holder to a fantastic place far away. I HAD to make my own, and the very next morning I called the only person I knew with a kiln and asked if I could come over and play with clay.
Sadly, in the years following the Hawaii Hut closed its doors (like almost every original Tiki establishment in Hawaii) - but I still have the mug I sipped from that night, and the mug I sculpted the next morning. Seeing them and holding them remind me of that night, the music, and the excitement of discovery. The VanTiki mugs I create take their owners far away from their every-day lives. They are portals to adventure - sip from them if you dare!
Curator, Glaze Slave
When not rocketing through triathlons, Denise keeps things at VanTiki Island running smoothly. She's a big help in the glaze department, but only if she can watch the Tour De France while painting.
Born and raised in Hawaii, Henrik spent his early working years creating rubber monsters for film and television in Hollywood. He currently draws, animates, and sculpts in his Kailua studio with his wife/fellow explorer.
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