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Tiki mania! The art of woodcarving has existed in Polynesia for centuries. As in other mythological religions, the ancient Polynesians believed that different elements were represented by different gods. These carvings, or tikis as we know them, resulted in thousands of different images.

When westerners arrived in Polynesia to spread their religious beliefs, and to put a halt to any pagan worship, many tikis were destroyed as well as lost to termites and the elements. Only a few originals remain today.

The surfing rage of the 1960’s brought the tiki back into popularity with their images portrayed on surfboards, clothing and fashioned jewelry. Tiki bars sprung up from Miami’s Don the Beachcomber to California and Waikiki.

Today, since retro is kewl again, our Kustom Kulture has brought tikis back to be lighthearted and fun like the 60’s. But the truth is, they never really left Hawaii!

Dennis Mathewson, of Honolulu, is an avid tiki carver. When he’s not airbrushing, pinstriping or writing articles for various publications, he’s traveling and instructing at kustom painting workshops. Dennis’ love for tikis is shown here and shared with you in his latest creation, the Tiki Master Freehand Airbrush Template Series from Artool®.