In the world of Tiki, one name has always stood out, Oceanic Arts. Founded in 1956 by Bob Van Oosting and LeRoy Schmaltz, the pair took a 37,000 mile trip throughout Polynesia and greater Oceania to bring an unparalleled level of authenticity to their work that led to their shop becoming the dominant force in mid-century Tiki pop. LeRoy Schmaltz is to this day considered the Godfather of modern Tiki carving, and coupled with Bob's business savvy, their business now supplies Tropical Decor to everything from backyard parties to films like Pirates of the Caribbean to resorts like Walt Disney World and, of course, Tiki bars and Polynesian restaurants the world over. Bamboo Poles, Thatching, Hand-Carved wooden Tikis, Tribal Masks, Bars, Decorative poles, light fixtures, Pufferfish lamps, Leis, sea-shells, Ceramic Tiki Mugs, Nautical Carving, Fishing Nets, Floats, even plastic turtles!
In fact, some of the largest Tikis in polynesia were carved right here in Whittier, California by LeRoy and Bob! Join us today as this incredible pair of visionaries invite us in to have a look around their treasure trove of all things nautical, tropical, and TIKI. Agreeing to sit down with us on their lunch, they also tell much of the history in their own words.
These two guys are a huge influence on the world of Tiki, but also a huge inspiration to us all, having founded their business on their passion and keeping their doors open for 58 years. As LeRoy said, "In the early days people would ask us, 'when are you going to get a real job?'" And they never did..