Arrow Fat Left Icon Arrow Fat Right Icon Arrow Right Icon Cart Icon Close Circle Icon Expand Arrows Icon Facebook Icon Instagram Icon Hamburger Icon Information Icon Down Arrow Icon Mail Icon Mini Cart Icon Person Icon Ruler Icon Search Icon Shirt Icon Triangle Icon Bag Icon Play Video

Articles

I'm a low-brow tiki artist.

"Brad Parker creates lurid paintings that pull in influences from tiki, comics, and rock."
- Honolulu Magazine "The Best Of" Issue

"You have not Appropriated the Culture of Hawaii…the Culture of Hawaii has Appropriated you."
- K. Angel Pilago :

A Hawaiian Elder (former councilman for the county Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii, retired & unofficial councilor to mayor Billy Kenoi of the Big Island, and the Hawaiian State Governor, plus, he's my very own personal Yoda) 

"We (La Luz de Jesus Gallery) are proud to be the sole representative of Brad Parker's art in Southern California.Brad has created a highly rendered visual language that's patently satirical yet wonderfully lurid in it's mythological depth. As a southern California transplant to the active, volcanic Big Island of Hawaii, Brad is unique in his drive to explore the roots of popular Tiki Culture –and the passion is obvious in his work."
~ Matt Kennedy - Curator of La Luz de Jesus Gallery (the World Famous Birth-Place of Low-Brow Art)

"Your work is entering a new realm now Brad...Its noir cocktail, the haunting tiki subconscious...You are defining a whole new oeuvre..Its fascinating to witness. Definitely expanding my inner ocular imagination. You are catching the dreamed undreamed."
~Jimmy Vargas - GNOSTIC RACKETEER / CROONOIR

"You're not like a normal artist, are you?"
~Lynn Beittel - Visionary Videographer

 

ARTIST'S STATEMENT:

My art is my personal celebration of a creative reinvention of a foolish misinterpretation of an ancient mythology that sought to solve the mystery of the "breath of life" that eternally, and precariously, surfs the complete expanse between the bottomless sea and the floating shadowland of preexistence in the inconceivable heights of the sky.

Trying not just to live... but, to live aloha. 


A QUESTION FROM A NATIVE HAWAIIAN: 

"How do you justify your self-described connection to the mano. Is it your 'aumakua?"

RESPONSE FROM ARTIST:

I knew that someone would ask that sooner or later. Thanks. Okay-doh-kay, Long story! I wish the shark were my 'aumakua, then I could go swimming without fear of sharks. - It's not. But, I'm glad u asked.

"Brad "Tiki-Shark" Parker." I used to be just Brad Parker. 

Then I changed my life, stopped being a Hollywood Union (Local 790) "Story Board & Senior Production Artist". I stopped creating visions for other people, & started to make the art I wanted to make. I left the Hollywood rat-race & moved to the most remote, active volcanic, tropical island on the planet: "Moku O Keawe". The Big Island. Hawai'i.

At that time a new Art Movement started in L.A. called "Low-Brow" Art, which is pop-surrealism influenced by modern culture. I loved it. Finally, a type of "Gallery Art" I could understand! I wanted to paint in this style, and what I wanted to paint was Tikis! This was then known as "Tiki-Art" a subset of "Low-Brow". 

It was the Art that was made by people in the "Tiki Culture" scene - which is not to be confused with "Hawaiian Culture", but is the reflection of it as seen by the rest of the world through the Hawaiian Bureau of Tourism, television, & commercialization. 


A HISTORY OF TIKI-CULTURE:

A huge "Hawaii-manai" swept the USA, (& the world), right after WWII & came to great heights in the 50's, & finally died out in 1959 when Hawaii gained statehood. Many restaurants & hotels, were "Hawaii" themed, with a Tiki built into their decor. In the 60's Hawaii-mania fell out of fashion. All these businesses fell into decay & ruin. Lost forever. Giant tikis bulldozed. Tiki Bars turned into Mexican restaurants. 

In the 80's a bunch of folks took up the hunt for this lost "Tiki Culture" that seemed to only show up in garage sales & late night re-runs of "Hawaiian Eye". We had parties where we'd dress up in 50's retro Hawaiian shirts. Collect record albums by Martin Denny & Les Baxter (who, in the 50's, made a new kind of music called "exotica" for the big Honolulu hotels - many of their tracks recorded in the Punahau School Auditorium for acoustics). Old recipes to make a Mai Tai were discovered, seminars taught. We were a Retro-Hawaiiana underground Art scene. "Tiki Culture" grew. We published "Tiki Magazine" that distributes "Tiki-Scene" info to the other "Tiki-Tribe" members. 

Then, we got a website called TikiCentral.com. Folks logged onto that website could find the next party, trade and sell vintage Hawaiian clothing, rare Tiki Mugs, & records like "Bing Crosby's Blue Hawaii", all worldwide! On Tiki Central, you logged on with a screen name. Every one was "Tiki-Joe" or "Tiki-Girl" or "Tiki-Tiger", so I became "Tiki-Shark". At the big parties, you did not know anyone's real names. They all knew you by the screen name from Tiki Central. At these events, I had to introduce myself as Brad (Tiki-Shark) Parker so people would know who I was, & know they had been chatting with me online, & buying my Tiki Art. 

So, now I'm stuck - everyone knows me as Brad "Tiki-Shark" Parker, I figure, why fight it"? My Kona Gallery owner tells me it's a great artist "name" & made it a  selling point.


NEXT:

"Is Appropriation Appropriate? 

I've been accused of "appropriating" Hawaiian culture. I'm a Haole (a white guy) painting Tikis. 

Should I be painting Tikis? I agonize over this every painting.

But… what do you think Artists do?

I appropriate everything that stimulates me: the world - I soak it in. Filter it all through my psyche & make it into a new vision that is my Art. 

A cultural exchange, you might say. Your Culture, their Culture, Pop-Culture, all culture, goes in & my TIKI-Art comes out. 

I NEVER tell anyone I am creating HAWAIIAN ART. 

I'm not. 

It's been done, & done extremely well by Herbert Kawainui Kane (1928 to 2011). He was the very BEST. Look at his beautiful, historically correct Hawaiian cultural paintings... they are awesome.

But, they are not "Low-Brow Tiki-Art". I do that. 

I started my career paying for college by editing, writing, penciling, & inking "Tales of the Ninja Warriors": an indy comic book of Japanese characters published by a California company, owned by Chinese people. I also drew illustrations for their other publications like "Black Belt" and "Kung -Fu Magazine". It was never considered "appropriating" by anyone.

I hope that clears up what makes people confused about my art. 

Funny thing is, I have yet to meet an actual person of Hawaiian Heritage that is offended by my art. So far, they all have thought it was fun & amusing, like the "Enchanted Tiki Room" at Disney Land. 

I think it's pretty exciting to research the culture that sprouted up on the most remote land mass in the world yet has reached out and touched almost every other part of the globe; with the sport of Kings: Surfing. Talking with your hands and dance: Hula. The sense of living with an open heart called "Aloha". There is something very powerful here that needs to be talked about with art.

I was asked by the University of Hawaii to give a talk on "Tiki-Culture"... to a group of university students, many of them were Hawaiian, have lived on the islands for many generations. So, me..the haole guy, got up and lectured a bunch of Hawaiian students on "Tiki-Culture". I was terrified. They were delighted. 

The students had not heard of "Tiki Culture", & were very interested, & pleased with my Tiki Art. Afterward, I got a standing ovation. The University of Hawaii has asked me to be on the list of their favorite speakers. It was an extremely rewarding experience. It kept me thinking about what I do, & why I am making the Art I make. 

Recently, I got to speak to a Hawaiian Elder about this. He's a wizened old beach guy, but also a former councilman for the county of the Island of Hawaii and is a retired but still unofficial council to mayor Billy Kenoi of the Big Island, and the Hawaiian State Governor. We had a surprisingly deep metaphysical discussion about why I make the kind of art I make. He talked about how certain people are pulled to the islands. How Hawaii is a nexus for the Earth. 

I fearfully asked the big question. He laughed, smiled big "oh you poor dumb fool" look on his face, & warmly said: "You have not Appropriated Hawaiian Culture. Hawaiian Culture has Appropriated you!" 

Maybe I was I brought here by some unknown mystic force or inner muse to make ART about Hawaii, but Art filtered through my artistic process. 

I dunno! All I know for sure is I have to do what I do to be happy. 


BIO: 

Brad has worked in several types of media: writing, penciling, inking, coloring, & editing comic books from small publishers right up to the industry's leaders: Marvel and DC Comics.

Brad did production illustration for several movies, but his most memorable contribution is the design of the infamous Creeper for the Jeepers Creepers films. 

Brad stopped accepting film work & moved to Hawaii where he began directing the art side of Tiki Shark Art Inc. & painting his interpretations of the Modern Tiki subculture.

Tiki Art is referred to as "Low Brow Art" as opposed to "High Brow" or "Fine" Art, only because it references modern or pop culture. Low Brow Art has seen tremendous popularity in the [mainland] West Coast art scene since the 1990's.

Brad Parker's style is reminiscent of the old Flemish masters, but with counterculture subject matter from a childhood of adoring comic books, cartoons, & Universal monster movies. A unique American culture of television, comics, the Hawaiian craze of the 1950's (plus its re-emergence as hipster-retro-kitsch), all go into the Polynesian pop-art of this new "Tiki-Art".

It's unique, strange but familiar. It's Hawaii seen through a pair of "Cartoon-land Glasses." I'm the "What if... Salvador Dali worked at Hilo Hatties"

"I love the work coming out of the Low-Brow Art scene in LA. But, there just wasn't enough being said about Tikis for my taste. Tiki-Art is a whole new & old art form at the same time. It's the first abstraction of the human form & also the birth of modern art. It's the re-creation of wooden idols into the 20th-century idols of recreation!"


Brad "Tiki-Shark" Parker's Bio.

Brad "Tiki-Shark" Parker is a "Tiki-Artist" working in the pop-surrealistic style of the "Low-Brow" Art movement.

Awards:

1.) La Luz de Jesus Gallery; (The world famous birth-place of the "Low-Brow Art movement") 

• La Luz de Jesus Gallery placed Parker among Low-Brow's most prominent artists in it's "25th Year Anniversary Group Show" & special edition Artbook. 

•La Luz de Jesus Gallery has also hosted several one-man shows of Parker's work. 

2.) Parker has won entry into "SPECTRUM The Years Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art" several years in a row." 

Publications:

1.) Parker has been the subject of many articles in publications, among which are: 

• France's "KUSTOM Magazine". The Art/Fashion magazine celebrating "Rock-a-Billy & Kustom Culture" Life Style. It's "Hawaiian" issue featured a special 16-page pull-out of Parker's Art-work.

• America's "Tiki-Magazine" has featured Parker several times, including on the cover.

• "Hana Hou! Magazine - (Hawaiian Air Lines in-flight Magazine)" featured Parker in an English language edition in 2016, then because of its popularity, also featured Parker in the Japanese language edition of the next issue that same year. 

2.) Parker is listed as one of the top 40 most influential "Out-sider Artists" working today in "Surf Graphics" - an Art book published by London's KERERO PRESS. 

QUOTES from THE PRESS and others:

"Brad Parker creates lurid paintings that pull in influences from tiki, comics, and rock." 

- Honolulu Magazine "The Best Of" Issue

"You have not appropriated the Culture of Hawaii…the Culture of Hawaii has Appropriated you."
- K. Angel Pilago :
A Hawaiian Elder (former councilman for the county Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii, retired & unofficial counselor to the mayor of the Big Island, and the Hawaiian State Governor.) 

"We (La Luz de Jesus Gallery) are proud to be the sole representative of Brad Parker's art in Southern California. Brad has created a highly rendered visual language that's patently satirical yet wonderfully lurid in it's mythological depth. As a southern California transplant to the active, volcanic Big Island of Hawaii, Brad is unique in his drive to explore the roots of popular Tiki Culture –and the passion is obvious in his work."
~ Matt Kennedy - Curator of La Luz de Jesus Gallery (the World Famous Birth-Place of Low-Brow Art)

"Your work is entering a new realm now Brad...Its noir cocktail, the haunting tiki subconscious...You are defining a whole new oeuvre... It's fascinating to witness. Definitely expanding my inner ocular imagination. You are catching the dreamed undreamed."
~Jimmy Vargas - GNOSTIC RACKETEER / CROONOIR

"You're not like a normal artist, are you?"
~Lynn Beittel - Visionary Videographer


ARTIST'S STATEMENT.
 
(What the Artist Says:)

I'm a "Tiki Artist": a Low-Brow Artist who specializes in Hawaiian Pop-culture. I don't paint historically correct Tikis. I paint "Souvenir Tikis". I paint Tiki's summer holiday reflection. I celebrate the Tiki that tourists enjoy on their holiday vacation - found in gift shops & in Tiki Bars. The Tiki I paint is an Urban-Myth; a figment of holiday vacation superstition, like "Mr. Jack-o-Lantern", the "Easter Bunny", or  "Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer". 

My mission as a "Tiki-Artist" is to give this fun fictional figure an upgrade, and to help it keep up with our always evolving "Tiki-Pop-Culture". It felt like the Souvenir Tiki was falling behind & being forgotten, losing quality and respect. I'm here to help polish up this piece of Hawaiiana, dust off the attic cobwebs, take it out of the "under a $1 box" at the yard sale, and set Mr. "Souvenir Tiki" on the Throne as ruler of "The Island of Misfit Pop-Culture Icons".

Next time you buy a "Souvenir Tiki" and it's really awesome, & cool, & well worth the price tag value - that will mean my artistic mission was a success and I have brought Fine-Art into the Low-Brow Art world of souvenirs. 

Aloha!
Brad "Tiki-Shark" Parker