IN HIS OWN WORDS
From 1963 to 1976 my family moved four times, but always in the same area: Just off of Rosemead Blvd in Southern California's San Gabriel valley. From the back seat of my parents 64 Impala, I was amazed by the nightly drive past all of the mid-century Architectural landmarks; by day, peddling my bike, it seemed quite natural to see huge Tiki Gods, waterfalls, and volcanoes in front of A-frames. But by the mid 80's, when I started buying my own Tiki mugs, I realized there was something odd about seeing the Polynesian style transplanted to Southern California. Nevertheless, my attraction to it kept growing and growing, and when Sven Kirsten explained to me in 1992 that there was a California Tiki style -- at once modern, primitive and cartoonish -- it was like an epiphany; it all made sense.
A couple of months later someone dumped a load of palm logs in a vacant lot down the road, and I took some home to carve Tiki stuff for my home bar. Two weeks later I had my first mask and pole designs (as seen in Tiki News #1). Soon after I decided I needed my own Tiki mug, so the ceramics came next; currently we're up to design #11. I have always held the forgotten masters in the highest regard, so it was an honor when, in the late 90's, Truus and I met Mr Westenhaver, creator of the legendary Witco furniture company. It turned out we had both attended Art Center School Of Design in Pasadena, although 40 years apart. Due to his advice and support I started my burnt-wood carving style.