Pop Surrealism with Tiki Twist

Polynesian gods mix with movie monsters and comics in Brad Parker’s ‘Tiki Lounge’
tiki twist

Tiki gods playing bongos, big-eyed cats, tiger sharks that serve as surf boards, and the Zombie Tiki Girl will brighten up one of Los Angeles’ top galleries of low-brow art this summer.

Brad ‘Tiki Shark’ Parker, who paints these visions of ‘Pop Surreal Hawaiiana’ from his studio on Kona, borrows from comic books (he’s drawn for both DC and Marvel comics), monster movies, pulp magazines, and old radio shows for ‘Tales from the Tiki Lounge,’ the new exhibit of his work at the Luz de Jesus Gallery.

The show, which begins next week, runs July 6 to 29, with a reception 8 p.m. Friday July 6. The exhibit features original paintings and one-of-a-kind giclée prints, with Parker’s paintings turned into old EC Comics-style covers.

When Parker, a Nebraska boy, first tried to show his art in Hawaii, he was told, “Tiki is dead and does not sell.” Parker, who has studied Hawaiian culture, believes galleries may have been afraid of “stepping on” the local culture.

“I’m not painting traditional Hawaiian culture in any way or form,” he says. “I’m documenting what tiki means now. Now it’s the whole leisure, fun, kitsch thing.”

See more ‘Tales from the Tiki Lounge’ here.