Tiki Lovers Draw Inspiration from Gilligan's Island at The Tonga Hut

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Wed, Dec 15, 2010 at 12:04 PM

Gilligan's Island only ran for three seasons, but the show about castaways on a (usually) deserted island where they could make anything except for a boat to leave said island is a hallmark of U.S. pop culture.

click to enlarge "Kona Envy" by Jason Sallin - SHANNON COTTRELL
  • Shannon Cottrell
  • "Kona Envy" by Jason Sallin

Back in November, The Tonga Hut hosted "The Art of Gilligan's Island," featuring the work of several artists who also frequent the North Hollywood tiki bar. We got to check out a few remaining pieces from the show when we stopped by the watering hole Saturday night.

click to enlarge Shrunken head of the Skipper by Crazy Al Evans - SHANNON COTTRELL
  • Shannon Cottrell
  • Shrunken head of the Skipper by Crazy Al Evans
"A couple of the artists I work with, Kirby and Grog, sort of conceived this thing, about how everyone in the tiki community loves Gilligan's Island and they should have a show dedicated to Gilligan's Island as a theme and everyone does custom art for it with sort of a tiki Gilligan's Island theme," said Jeremy Fleener, owner of The Tonga Hut.

Given that this is a tiki bar, there were a lot of references to Kona, a tiki statue that may or may not be cursed, including a wood carving. Other pieces included the shrunken heads of Gilligan and the Skipper by famed tiki artist Crazy Al Evans, Big Toe's NSFW take on the ladies of Gilligan's Island, Tom D. Kline's Hunter S. Thompson/Ralph Steadman-inspired piece and Jason Sallin's black velvet portrait of "Little Buddy."

Sallin is the artist behind the black velvet paintings you will regularly see at The Tonga Hut. He began working with oil and velvet about a year ago, after being inspired by a show featuring work from Edgar Leeteg. The painting of Gilligan is called "Kona Envy," and he says it's a "companion piece" depicting the reaction of the U.S.S. Minnow's first mate to a painting of a topless woman wearing a Kona necklace.

click to enlarge "Fear and Loathing on Gilligan's Island" by Tom D. Kline - SHANNON COTTRELL
  • Shannon Cottrell
  • "Fear and Loathing on Gilligan's Island" by Tom D. Kline
Kline, who regularly photographs events at The Tonga Hut, says that this is the first tiki-related art show in which he's participated. With "Fear and Loathing on Gilligan's Island," he says, inspiration came from the hat.

"I was trying to think of a piece to do for the show and it was the hat that took me down that journey," he explained. "Let's make Gilligan the crazy, drug-taking gonzo guy and have the Skipper as his lawyer. Instead of a car going to Vegas, they end up on a deserted island."

Check out more pieces from "The Art of Gilligan's Island" on the following page, but, be forewarned, one image may be NSFW if nude paintings of Ginger and Mary Ann aren't allowed at the workplace.

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