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Trader Gino's Storeroom of Art & Precious Cargo

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Aloha & Hello Tiki Central!

Such a pleasure to be here with such a talented and dedicated group of people. To make a long story short, I was here a few years back, posted a couple pieces and that was about it. About a year later a switch turned on and I couldn't get enough tiki. I started properly researching the history and scene so my work would look more authentic. My wife goes nuts when she hears bird calls because I have exotica playing 97% of the time. I'm just nuts for this stuff now and wanted to come back to TC and actively be part of the the best online tiki community anywhere. So, I got a new username, new website and am back to take all the advice and great ideas TC has to offer as well as give back what I can.

Quick backstory: I work at Trader Joe's as a regional artist. I have a home store in beautiful downtown Burbank, Ca., but travel to other stores as needed. TJ's has evolved an aversion to tiki over the past few years so I've taken it upon myself to do my part in keeping it alive in my store, at least. My fervor for tiki in my personal life only helps fuel this flame.

Enough ranting now! Bear with me, I'm going to repost only a couple old pics from before in the interest of this being a complete thread of my work.

These guys are hand drawn & inked then colored in Photoshop. They're used to denote sections of the store on the shelf price labels, like this:

..and the infamous chalkboards:

Next I'll post some of the painted signs and some more digital work.
Thanks for your time, hope you dug some of the stuff. Comments/critique always welcome and if you have any questions, please ask away!


GROG posted on Sat, Jun 15, 2013 9:07 PM

Got some good skillZ. Like the website and blog. Welcome back.

Thanks GROG!

Lot's of fun wrapped up in your art...I remember when I tried to collect as many Tiki shopping bags as I could from Trader Joes...LOL. Keep up the good work!!!


It may be modernized, but you obviously know and respect the history.

I dig that you're able to put tiki out there. In everyday spaces, in places that people will enjoy it, even if they don't fully appreciate it. I'm sure you put a few smiles on faces with your sign work.

Also, although it's sacrilege, anybody that manages a Hoth reference with a tiki is good people in my book.

Welcome back Trader Gino. Nice collection of happy tiki artwork, keep up the good work. (I almost missed the Hoth :lol: )

It's great to see you here again. We love Trader Joes and wish our store had all of your art. Wendy

Welcome back! I remember enjoying your old thread and thinking how lucky that Trader Vic's must be to have such exceptional tiki art. Good to see you around again. :)


Side note: I notice a cannibal looking tiki. You should check out the art swap!

Thanks for the warm welcome & kind words everyone. Nice to see a couple people from my original post came back for a look.
Hale Tiki I'll take a look!
More stuff very soon

Today was the first time I had been in a TJs in over 1.5 years and my first thought was "where the heck did the tikis go??"

I love your artwork--thanks for sharing again!

Aloha all! Back with some more stuff, this time painted signs and digital stuff. Enjoy!

So, if you've got this bag, yours truly is the one responsible for it. It was a lot of fun doing it, but I was definitely in my Tiki-infancy (and digital art infancy while I'm at it). I'd like to take this chance to apologize for the horrid tiki :oops: and palm frawns that are apparently styled with hair gel. :roll:

Glad that's off my chest. Moving on!

Some recent digital work. First guy is for the frozen section so I mixed a little Inuit design in.
Second guy is for the beer section.

A few painted signs

A table where they sell pastries, pies, etc...

This went up in front of a blue wall, hence the blue "vapor trails" behind the beans

This guy was a lot of fun. Can't find the original sketch I made for this sign, but I'll post it when I do.
It was a lot more "Jungle Cruise-y." They wanted something a little tamer.

A couple signs with Polynesian ornament

Thanks for lookin!

Wanted to sneak this last one in.
Here's some deco I made for our outdoor space.

The Moai and Tiki are made from glued sheets of white insulation foam, then carved & painted.
Did the "Tiki" a WHILE ago as an experiment at work.

A little nod to Frankie's

I'm in the garage working on more and more to add when I have time to.
I'll keep you updated!


On 2013-06-17 18:02, SandraDee wrote:
Today was the first time I had been in a TJs in over 1.5 years and my first thought was "where the heck did the tikis go??"

See what I'm sayin??? :)

O.K. I never see any cool signage in my local Trader Joe's (in Costa Misery)
Oh Gino, why has Trader Joe forsaken us?

This song is for you, just ignore the spelling

ATP thanks for the dedication!


So all your outdoor tikis are foam?

Are you familiar with Styrospray? :D

GROG posted on Tue, Jun 18, 2013 9:48 AM

Gino, is your last name Cologist?

(I bet you never heard THAT one before)

GROG crack GROG up! :D

Nice foam Moai.

GROG miss Tiki-Kate

[ Edited by: GROG 2013-06-18 09:49 ]

Hale Tiki THANK YOU for finally giving a name to what I've been looking for. I'd love to try that stuff out. I knew something like that existed, but didn't know the name.
HAH! Nice one GROG! ...took me a sec :wink:

Aloha all!
Here's a replica of an old show poster, also the cover of Taschen's "Hula" book. Did it on rough cedar planks - the texture came through nicely, almost mimicking a coarse canvas. I dig it and will probably use it a lot in the future.

Acrylic on wood

Aloha all!
Just finished a new store hours sign. Pretty happy with the way it came out. It was my first big project with a router, so there's definitely room for improvement there. I was going for a Paul Marshall mug - inspired look. If you could see the sign up close, you'd see that all the dark brown and red areas are gloss coated and the beige area is matte...like the mugs.
7' x 2'. Acrylic on wood

Routing out the background

Seeing how the cut out letters look/ checking placement

Lick o' paint

..and voila.

Thanks for looking!


I really like your work and you did a great job on that sign, it looks fantastic.

[ Edited by: swizzle 2013-08-03 17:08 ]

Thanks so much swizzle!

Nice skills! Nice tikis. My closest Trader Joe's is pretty far away, I have only been in it once or twice. (I wish they'd build another closer.) But I do remember a few tiki-ish signs.

Keep sharing & welcome back!

Thank you Lori!


Aloha Gino!

Awesome work!!!

I was in Burbank today, and coincidentally needed to stop by a Trader Joe's to restock supplies... I'd passed the location on Alameda a few times in the past, but after seeing this thread, I made a point of visiting this location, and...

WOW!!! This is by far the Tikiest Trader Joe's I've ever seen! Approaching the entrance the terrific trading hours sign you made creates an incredible introduction to the tikiness that awaits! Not to mention the tapa patterns on the windows! Nice!

I only needed a loaf of wheat and a loaf of sourdough bread, but I spent lots of time perusing the aisles (isles?), checking out the great artwork... so inventive and inviting! I especially liked the wine barrels that looked like tikis and the little bits of tapa and tiki that were positioned along the bamboo wall along the perimeter of the store. Very cool!

Just one question... what's the story with the skunks piloting planes at checkout? Interesting, but I couldn't figure out what it meant!

OH! You mentioned that you are a regional artist... sounds like your home base is the Burbank store, but how much influence do you have over surrounding locations? I ask because our local Joe's, in West Hollywood, just west of Santa Monica & La Brea, has made a concerted effort to move away from tiki... not that there was lots in the first place... it's been redone all Hollywood, with nary a tiki in sight... which is strange, since the shopping center where the store is located is slated for eminent demolition (TJ's is the last business in the whole complex)... why update the artwork when you're not long for this world anyway?

Well, keep on getting tiki out there for the masses!

Mucho Mahalos!!!

Eric, thanks for stopping by and thanks so much for the kind words! It's a goal of mine to make the store the last bastion of TJ's tiki. As I learn more about Polynesian history and all the design aesthetics, I push myself to try new things and make the store a place that (hopefully) tikiphiles can enjoy. I've got a lot of plans for transforming the entry area - hopefully those plans will see the light of day.

SKUNK! SO, every TJ's tries to tie in an identity with its surrounding neighborhood and its history. I catch heat sometimes because I'd rather fill the place with tiki stuff, so I have to add elements of Burbank every now and then. Back in the day, Lockheed was a big part of Burbank. They had a department that was responsible for may cutting edge aircraft, called Skunk Works, and the skunks you saw were the logo.

Here's a pic so everyone can catch up

These signs are SUPPOSED to be next to the skunks

I don't know what's going on with that West Hollywood store. I thought it was going to close soon after the store near Hollywood & Vine opened.
I'll find out and PM you if I get any info. If you happen to stop in the Hollywood & Vine store, check out these two by the street entrance. Had fun doing 'em!

Thanks again Eric!

Aloha all!

Working on a new sign frame. The right side is open so signs can be slid in & out. I painted the inside panel of the sign frame so it never looks empty if there's no sign inside.

Here are some WIP pics:

Will post finished pics soon!

[ Edited by: Trader Gino 2013-08-13 09:32 ]

We're getting a new Trader Joe's out here in lovely Boulder, Colorado. Maybe you could make a trip out to help them with their identity? :wink:

...and all done!

TikiTacky, it's funny because a buddy of mine is transferring out to Boulder to help open the store. He told me I should come up and help out too! We'll see what happens. Maybe I'll at least be able to design some shelf tags from home with tikis or something...

Aloha all!
Got a couple more signs done. The second one was fun...gotta use more PNG stuff to mix it up!

Thanks for lookin'!

edit: uploaded better quality pics and added a third pic

[ Edited by: Trader Gino 2013-08-18 20:44 ]

[ Edited by: Trader Gino 2013-08-18 20:45 ]

[ Edited by: Trader Gino 2013-08-18 21:12 ]

Aloha all! Back with a quick update. Still trying to optimize the image quality...thanks for bearing with me.

Hula time!

Added some PNG inspiration

Enchanted Tiki Room coffee drinkers

Here are some recent painted signs:

Surfboard with Maori & hibiscus designs

Thanks for looking!

You've made Trader Joes the coolest place to hang out. We need this in Elk Grove, CA. Wendy


WowwowWOW!So well done!
It's SO obvious how much fun you have doing these!


Looking great! Especially dig that "Dairy Farm" sign (& typeface....)

Thanks so much Wendy and TikiAno!
4WDtiki - It's funny because whenever other artists ask me about chalk/pastel techniques, I give 'em a couple pointers but I always finish by saying, "I freakin' love what I do, and I hope that comes out in my work." So, thanks for saying so!

Aloha all! Finally have some new stuff to post! Maori n' Moai Madness
Hand drawn/inked. Colored in Photoshop

This guy is for the "Bakery Beach" bread section from an earlier post. I used some Maori designs in that previous sign so I wanted this guy to reflect some Maori influence. I gave him a Maori style face with some wavy, wooden surfer hair.

This next guy is for the juice section.
I've been wanting to include more Moai in the store, and when I saw this pic:

I immediately flashed back on those old beer helmets:

...and voila!

Hope you dig 'em - had fun doing them.
Thanks for lookin'!


Very cool art, congrats!

Thanks Clarita!

Mele Kalikimaka to all!

Hope everyone is having and will continue to have a great holiday season!


awesome art.

Pages: 1 40 replies