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Oceanic Arts, Whittier, CA (store)

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Name:Oceanic Arts
Street:12414 Whittier Blvd

Web Pages: http://www.oceanicarts.net/


Taken from the introduction in "Night of the Tiki"

Schmaltz's carved icons have tikified hotels, restaurants, bars and apartment buildings across the country for decades. In 1956, he and his partner Bob Van Oosting founded Oceanic Arts, an Oceanic art emporium outside of Los Angeles. Together they designed South Seas paraphernalia for everything from Hollywoods sets to legendary restaurants and bars. Their most famous installations include Disneyland's Enchanted Tiki Room, the thatched-roof scenery of Gilligan's Island and the Vietnam villiage set used for the film Forrest Gump.

What I have to say:
There are no words! What a great place, ran by greater people! Bob, Leroy and Susan! What a wonderful way to spend the afternoon! All under one roof....Tiki's, quite a mug collection, Tiki's, lamps, Tiki's, bamboo galore, Tiki's, matting, Tiki's, party rentals, Tiki's, Blowfish lamps, Tiki's, authentic Polynesian artifacts, Tiki's, Bob and Leroy, oh...did I mention Tiki's? Bob and Leroy have the stories...they were so friendly and hospitable, they took the time to talk to me and showed me old menus from the greats that are long gone, Don the Beachcombers, The Tahitian. Jeeez, too many, I can't remember them all. Thanks again guys, for letting me take up so much of your busy day, answering any and all of the many questions that I asked. It meant the world to me. :D I'm still smiling!

[ Edited by: DawnTiki on 2004-03-04 17:25 ]

Only the most awesome tiki werehouse in the world! Glad that the web site is finally up!

Hi Dawntiki,
Is that blow fish literally in the fish float or is it just behind it? If it's inside, it's SOLD to Unga.
Nice pics.

Fishy is inside the float, there have been other pictures posted of him on TC, sadly he "snot" for sale. Somethings just can't be bought. :)


OA is the bomb!!!! My wife and I make a trek there every saturday for supplies when we were building our tiki bar. The place is like Willy Wonka's chocolate factory for tiki lovers!! I met Bob on my first trip. He and all the other people there are very nice. If any of you are ever in the LA area, definately make a stop, you will not want to leave!

Probably the most tikis under one roof anywhere. Purchased an amazing tiki lamp, although most tikis are only for rent, not for sale.

I hope they finally have added delivery and pick-up to their business. My car is not as big as my imagination and I have a birthday coming up.


Can someone please be so kind as to give me directions?

Mrs. B wrote:
Can someone please be so kind as to give me directions?

Directions from your shop to OA are here. Also, Oceanic Arts has a mini-map link here.

Happy Shopping!

Just come from an OA trip yesterday. Had to pick up some thatching for the outside tiki bar and indoor tiki office. The hubby and I had a super wonderful / very informative chat with Bob. He was kind enough to show us some photo albums filled with lots of the work they have done in the past for hotels, restaurants, parks, etc. The pictures were amazing!!! I love that place...the people are great and so are the tikis! No joke, I would work there for free. Maybe they will let me help out on the weekends, so I can get the Marquesan wall mounting. It's a little out of my budget ($720), but if I had the cash, I would get both of them! They are every bit worth the money and then some. They are so huge, so beautifully detailed...ok, I must stop, I'm drooling on my keyboard again.


[ Edited by: TNTiki on 2004-11-06 18:15 ]

Thanks, DawnTiki and TNTiki, for posting the pics. I can't imagine how much film I'd shoot in there. Maybe they should have an adopt-a-tiki program in which we could have our names on specific tikis and log in to find out what party or film production our tiki was lording over tonight. Nah, its just the sleep deprivation talking. I wonder how much of their stock is leased out at any given time, on average?


I read this great article from the LA Times recently about Oceanic Arts. Can't say that I've had the pleasure of stopping by, but if I ever find myself lost in Whittier, you'll know where to find me @;-).

BYLINE: Steven Barrie-anthony
CREDITLINE: Los Angeles Times
HEADLINE: 'Authentic' Hawaiiana may be from California

Blissfully splayed out on a Hawaiian beach, sipping rum from a
pineapple, it's hard to imagine that the rough-hewn, authentic-looking thatch
umbrella shielding you from the sun was likely made back home on the
mainland. Ditto for many of the tiki decorations at resorts, bars and even
tiki museums in Polynesia and the rest of the world.
If something looks Polynesian, chances are that LeRoy Schmaltz,
co-owner of Oceanic Arts in Whittier, Calif., had a hand in making it.
"It's super ironic," says Greg Escalante, a Polynesian art expert and
curator of the Copro/Nason Gallery in Culver City, near Los Angeles.
"The biggest existing tiki statue in Tahiti was made by Schmaltz, in
Whittier. Even in Tahiti, they somehow rely on Schmaltz."
Trader Joe's, Islands restaurants, Disneyland and many Nevada casinos
buy tiki decorations from Oceanic Arts. Schmaltz, 69, has helped design
dozens of TV and movie sets, including "Gilligan's Island" and "Forrest
Gump." He lays claim to overseeing the production of thousands of
tikis, and a similar number of totems, luau signs and pretty much any other
decoration loosely associated with the South Pacific.
He is considered royalty within the tiki art movement's three schools:
authentic archeological artifacts from the Pacific; Americana,
post-World War II interpretations in restaurants and bars; and new work by
artists such as Shag, who combines island motifs into retro-style
Schmaltz "is the king of the second school," says Doug Nason, co-author
of "Night of the Tiki: The Art of Shag, Schmaltz and Selected Primitive
Oceanic Carvings" (Last Gasp, 2001) and co-owner of Copro/Nason
Gallery. "Many people can't afford to go to the islands . . . and this
Americana movement is a substantial movement in itself. In that way, it's just
as important as ancient archeology."
Schmaltz, clad in a Hawaiian shirt, of course, strolls proudly through
his 10,000-square-foot workshop and warehouse, filled with
Polynesia-inspired objects that he built or refurbished. Everything is for sale or
rent. Shelves brim with tropical mats, thatched umbrellas, grass skirts
and carved wooden signs announcing "Aloha!" and "Welcome to the Luau!"
Leis spew from barrels everywhere.
He gestures toward hundreds of palm and redwood tiki statues and
totems, ranging from pocket size to more than 10 feet tall. "They have a
Polynesian flair," he says, "but they are imagination, fantasy."
Ersatz, indeed, but art nonetheless, according to Schmaltz -- a
distinction he has been trying to make since he was a senior in art at
California State University, Los Angeles, in 1956. After Schmaltz began
restoring Samoan tiki statues for a local importer, his professors were
reluctant to give him class credit for his tiki time.
"They told me that this is way below my station in life -- told me that
I wasn't worthy of being an art major. They didn't want me at school,"
Schmaltz recalls, still rankled.
A few classes short of his degree, Schmaltz left academia behind. He
and a college buddy, business major Robert Van Oosting, pooled what money
they had and set off for the South Seas in search of their own
Polynesian muses. In Tahiti, they met villagers "who hadn't seen white guys,"
Schmaltz remembers. "Kids cried."
The pair traveled to Fiji, to New Guinea. They were besieged by stormy
weather and almost shipwrecked, he says, but visited sites, museums and
shops with everything from drums to letter openers. When Schmaltz
returned home, his head was swimming with Polynesian imagery.
Schmaltz put chain saw to lumber and began constructing island objects
while Van Oosting handled the business side. At first, they filled
small orders, doing Hawaiian-themed signs for local bars, restaurants and
retailers, but in the 1960s Sea World, Epcot Center and companies around
the world put in big orders. The Rolling Stones hired Schmaltz to
decorate for parties, and Bob Dole hired him to carve signs for his
presidential campaign.
Converting a log into tiki can take a day, or a week if it's 7 feet
high. After the design is chalked onto a log, the chain saw is powered up.
Power tools and grinders are used to make finer points before the
indentations are chiseled out.
He plans to chisel out a few more good years. "Tiki is a form of
escapism," he says. "As long as the world is in turmoil, people always turn
to peaceful, pleasurable worlds -- and this is one of them."

Oceanic Arts is the mainline source.

I remember back when I was doing my wedding, and I ran into Otto and Baby Doe at La Luz in LA. They hipped me to Oceanic Arts, and the rest is history.

I got half my wedding supplies there.

Someday I'll post the whole story.


Thanks all for all the glorious info and pictures in this post.
Happy happyhappyhappy

Krustiki and I just got back from our first trip to Oceanic Arts. What an amazing place! We didn't know that they closed so early (1:00 p.m. on saturday), and got there just as they closed. Leroy was nice enough to turn the lights and waterfall back on, and let us wander around for a little while. We'll definitely be back next week, early enough to buy something!


My sister and I stopped in at Oceanic Arts two weeks ago, and I would heartily agree that the place has got it all. I also thought the Martin Denny on the overhead just added to the experience.

Here's a shot I took just after entering.:

I was on a light budget this trip to L.A., so I only made it out of there with one moai-esque wooden "door pull" for the wall.

I, however, did not find the folks to be as friendly as others have indicated. One female employee was friendly, but an older gentleman (who I believe was Bob, from photos) rang me up, and seemed less than thrilled. Maybe it was just a bad day.

I'll still be back -- way too much there to keep me away.

Gwen Smith

[ Edited by: gwenners on 2005-02-08 12:00 ]


So exactly what kind of sign did they make for Bob Dole? I followed that campaign closely and even worked at the Republican National Convention in San Diego and don't remember any wooden signs at all! Unless there was some high-level only beach themed party (which is quite possible, because I found myself in quite a few parties that you wouldn't normally expect of Republicans!)

Was Jeff there?


Von Tiki and I visited Leroy and Bob who stayed open late after we got stuck in traffic and phoned them in route. Didn't this happen to Hanford?
We arrived after closing time but they were both gracious and allowed me to photograph their incredible warehouse long after closing time.

I had last seen Leroy and Bob in 1963 when I accompanied my mother Ione on a buying trip for the Trade Winds. Leroy said he remembered Ione from the Trade Wind project 44 years ago.
Von Tiki returned with Bob who said to me" You haven't been here since you were a kid!"
I was amazed, "You remember me from over 40 years ago?" Bob replied, "No, but thats what Von Tiki just told me." We all had a good laugh and I was like a kid in a toy store while I took these photos.
Now I have to go back and take my time but here are some pictures for now.

[ Edited by: Ojaitimo 2007-04-04 15:58 ]

Ojaitimo ~ Mahalo for posting your pics. SoccerTiki and I love visiting Oceanic Arts and visiting with Bob, Leroy, & Suzie :)

Isnt there supposed to be a big anniversary event coming up soon?



We stopped in to see Reloy ( :) ) and Bob a couple weeks ago, and they said the big anniversary bash was put on hold, maybe even cancelled. Once they found out what it was going to involve, they reconsidered having anything big. But if you look at the counter in Ojaitimo's first picture above, you will see one thing that will be available to commemorate their 50th!

I had a couple of pics of Tiki Al and myself from a recent visit down to Oceanic Arts. I meant to post these earlier, but I forgot about it. Anyway...here they are.

The first shot has Al on the left and me on the right in front of the rare mug cabinet. Several cool things in there, including my own personal holy grail, the Don the Beachcomber head mug. Some day I'll find one in the wild...

The second shot is of Al posing in front of his tikified Suzuki Samurai. You've probably seen this at Los Angeles events and wondered about it. The tiki torches on either side are solar powered and more impressive at night, but it's still a great shot. Al said the inspiration for the Samurai was to make it look like an old army vehicle that had been stranded on a deserted island without any standard parts to keep it running...so it has bamboo throughout. Other features include a glowing blue resin skull shift knob and a tiki hood ornament. Each time I see it there's something new. Very Cool!

We had a great chat with Leroy and finished up the trip with lunch at Bahooka's before calling it a day. I could go back to Oceanic Arts again and again. It's like going to Disneyland.

Puki posted on Mon, May 21, 2007 11:48 AM

After getting a message about the LE mug from Tiki Farm, the wife and I went to Oceanic Arts last Friday because it was my B-day weekend, figured we'd stop by there before going to Disneyland. My imagination ran wild with ideas for our new home that we are Tikifying parts of. It's a great place to walk around and see whats available and get ideas. They have binders on the counter with pictures of various Tiki/Polynesian projects, which also helped spark ideas.

I hadn't thought of renting stuff, but Mrs was interested in renting some signs and props for an upcoming party this summer.

I particularly enjoyed the collection of Tiki mugs and old stuff from the past. [not for sale] They have a decent selection of new mugs too. As a B-day gift for me, we picked up one their limited edition Oceanic Arts Mugs by Tiki Farm. I haven't broke the tape seal on the box yet, but I'm going to, I'm anxious to read the little booklet on the history of Oceanic Arts.

My wife saw some Bamboo bar stools that were slightly damaged, Bob made us a very reasonable offer if we took all 4, so we did, they look great in the room we are decorating.

Overall a nice experience, will definitely be going back as we have ideas and need materials and decor. [ouch wallet]


Yo Ho and Hello,
Made my own pilgrimage to "Oceanic Arts" this last Saturday. Wow, what and awesome hour.Got some advice on drying palms and carving of said palms. Everybody was very help-full, patient and answered may questions. Here are some of the pic's I took trying not to double up on the previous posting's

My daughter wishing and dreaming

Hang Loose and Stay Cool

[ Edited by: T1K1 LEE 2007-07-09 20:55 ]

WOOOHOO! Tiki-rrific Pics! Mahalo for taking the time to post them :)

Nice pic's bro! Nothing like being in Tiki Heaven! Maybe a gift for Christmas under the tree this year? Naughty or Nice???

.........Great pics!!!! Thanks for sharin with us...........Remy

I was just at OA on New Year's Eve and thankfully it (unlike other SoCal tiki temples) is just as amazing as ever. You could spend months in there and still not see everything.

Here's a web page about OA that I put together many moons ago: http://www.spaceagecity.com/tiki/oa/index.htm



JOHN-O's Non-Tiki Guide to the SGV (when visiting the Bahooka or Oceanic Arts)........


[ Edited by: JOHN-O 2009-10-01 18:36 ]

So I was at OA today picking up some stuff for a job I've been working on and Bob and Leroy sat me down at the front desk and said they had something for me. I'm thinking it was an old invoice for Eli or what not. They reach down and put this up on the counter.

BLEW MY MIND!!! Leroy hand carved it.

Moocho MAhalos Bob and Leroy!

And everyone else at OCEANIC ARTS!!!

You're all the Best!


croe67 posted on Mon, Nov 8, 2010 5:36 PM

:o :o :o

Wow, that was a really nice thing to do, very cool sign.

Class act, those guys. Old school certificate of being in the club. :)


How freakin' cool is that?


That's awesome, a true testament to your work from the guys who know.

Where you going to put it??


Man, I sooo love Oceanic Arts! I've gotta go again real soon! I decorated most of my Enchanted Tiki Bathroom with their great merchandise!

I've been visiting O.A. for more research lately, its a nice drive to Whittier on a sunny, warm day...

...only to disappear in the dark bowels of the oldest and biggest Tiki repository in existence.

So, having met Lake Surfer first way back when at Exotica Chicago in 2003, and knowing he would be in town, I gladly took the opportunity to introduce him to Bob and Leroy, who had liked his classic Tiki stylings

Leroy sharing Tiki wisdom with Dave Hansen and his lovely Wahine:

As we were about to leave, a shipment of Bamboo arrived from China:

Talk a bout a truck load of bamboo!

We managed to squeeze in some ribs and Mai Tais at Bahooka before Dave had to go and vend at the Tonga Hut:

Here's to Lake Surfer, staunch upholder of the tradition in the virtual Tiki wasteland of Wisconcin!

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2010-12-14 10:15 ]


On 2010-12-14 10:08, bigbrotiki wrote:
Leroy sharing Tiki wisdom with Dave Hansen and his lovely Wahine:

Boy I sure would like to take a gander at those folders some day, must be a treasure chest of history in those old dusty binders. I talked to Dave at Tonga Hut that night and we was stoked to have had the experience at OA.

Thanks for the post.


While doing research for my next projects (shirt book, next Tiki CD, and such) at Oceanic Art recently, I came across two small sensational finds (for those who can relate) that I want to share here to spread the holiday cheer. First a local Pico Rivera community newspaper article from 1958 which Bob pulled out for me, with two photos, this one being the "sensation":

Bob van Oosting is CARVING! Granted, this photo of both Bob and Leroy chiseling on one log is posed for the article, but besides it being downright cute, Bob informed me that in the early days he in fact was quite involved with the hands on manufacture of Oceanic art also, and that only as demand increased did he take over the business side of things.

Further proof is the next photo from the article, both men working on a mosaic background for a mask, from the same series that I show an example of on page 222 of Tiki Modern:

The next surprise was a proposed but never realized design for an Aloha wear clothing store chain called Kimo's. The model store pictured in their franchise promotional flier had been outfitted with Witco furnishings (see Tiki Modern page 198), but because they were actually located in Santa Barbara, they contacted O.A. for future projects. Asked to submit designs for store fixtures, Leroy whipped up some renderings that were in keeping with the flagship store's look, but still un-mistakenly his own, here is my favorite, Leroy does Witco (!), 1968:

Unfortunately, times and tastes were such that it was not chosen, in favor of something less Tiki oriented. But this rendering will definitely go into MY next book!

Mentioning books, I signed a stack of Tiki Moderns that are available at O.A., and just want to remind everyone in L.A. that Oceanic Arts is really THE one-stop Tiki shop for your X-mas gift needs. Not only do they have a their time-tested carvings and beachcomber lamps, but a complete line of Tiki Farm mugs, Exotica CDs, books, prints, Luau paper supplies, really whatever the Tikiphile heart desires- and then some! We are truly fortunate to have them in our backyard down here in Southern California.
Mele Kukalimoko, everybody! :)

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2010-12-21 11:03 ]

Bob Van Oostig and Sven Kirsten at Oceanic Arts

KTLA NEWS: Oceanic Arts

[ Edited by King Bushwich the 33rd on 2022-03-31 11:05:09 ]

[ Edited by King Bushwich the 33rd on 2022-03-31 11:29:53 ]

I was waiting for someone to post about OA closing, there will be festivities going on for a few days, this weekend will have some events, so last call for OA folks, I wonder where Bamboo Ben will get his supplies now?


During the dark times we got chance to make our first (and it turns out, last) trip to Oceanic Arts. Great little warehouse and we picked up a couple of carvings and a float. Now that its closing I'm even more happy I made the decision to splurge a bit on those items.

Hamo posted on Mon, Apr 4, 2022 9:17 PM

Thanks for linking to those KTLA videos.

I found this video of LeRoy at The Golden Tiki where he and Bob have been immortalized as shrunken heads:

Leroy Schmaltz Oceanic Arts Golden Tiki Las Vegas Shrunken Head Unveiling 2/20/22

I was a damn fool not to buy a carving or something when I was at OA in 2017, but at least I got to visit.


iCollector.com Online Auctions

Session #1 April 23, 2022 Session #2 April 24, 2022


Buyers premium is 23%

PLEASE BE AWARE OF SIZING ON ITEMS. Note the dimensions in the descriptions for items that may be oversized. Shipping is the responsibility of the buyer. All items are to be paid for BEFORE shipping can be arranged. Shipping estimates can be provided by our third-party shipping partners. Note lot numbers of inquiry to give to shipping partners.

Auction Details Since 1956, one company has been at the epicenter of the mid-century, pop-culture, stylistic phenomenon known as TIKI. If POLYNESIAN GODS, EXOTICA MUSIC, HAWAIIAN HULA GIRLS and TROPICAL COCKTAILS are the lifeblood of the American Tiki movement, OCEANIC ARTS has been its beating heart. With a dream and a handshake, Robert Van Oosting and LeRoy Schmaltz embarked on an extraordinary journey that even they had no idea would go on to influence style around the world and yes, even the finest in American kitsch. From TRADER VICS and DON THE BEACHCOMBER to SEA WORLD and DISNEYLAND, Oceanic Arts has been supplying a tropical backdrop for fantasy and fun. Their hand-made décor has graced the finest restaurants and hotels of the world, as well as the dingiest dives; Glorious theme parks from California to Florida to the cheesiest roadside miniature golf courses. Countless backyard luaus and home tiki bars have been enriched with their wonderful art. No job was too big or too small for this Whittier, California manufacturer. Modestly, they’ve done it all.

Upon the occasion of Bob and LeRoy’s retirement and for the first time in their 65-year history, artifacts which make up the very soul of OCEANIC ARTS are available for purchase.

This includes Warehouse Showroom Samples, Master Pattern Carvings, Rental Department Inventory and rare ephemera from their vast Archives Library. For decades, collectors and general Tiki enthusiasts have been met with the dreaded NOT FOR SALE tags all over the OA Warehouse. Today, those tags have been set aside.

Now, PEEKABOO GALLERY is proud to offer the greatest collection of Mid-Century Commercial Polynesian-Pop artifacts ever to come on the market: THE OCEANIC ARTS VINTAGE TIKI COLLECTION!

Here is a rare opportunity to own a piece of history, direct from the original source. POLYNESIAN LAMPS, PAINTINGS, CONCEPT ART, VINTAGE PHOTOGRAPHS, EPHEMERA, DISNEY THEME PARK RARITIES, TIKI MUGS, HAWAIIAN CLOTHING and rare, one-of-a-kind TIKI CARVINGS are all on offer. This is undoubtedly, the largest intact vintage Tiki collection to ever come to the market and frankly, most probably ever will.

Join us as we bid farewell to Bob and LeRoy and wish them, ALOHA, OA!

[ Edited by tikiskip on 2022-04-16 15:06:21 ]


Just to think, these guys have been around since the inception of Tiki in the '50s. What a ride it must have been!


So, in the sale there is two catalogs with lights and other stuff sold at OA. Looks like there was lots more of these places way back then.

But what did OA make and what did they buy from others longs ago? The guy/ or gal who made at least some of the lights and other stuff is some guy/gal we will never know.

I find it amazing we have never even heard about these other tiki supply houses till now.

Just how many tiki suppy places were there back then?

A book about all the tiki suppy houses back then would be a great book if nothing eles just for the photos of the stuff in the catalogs.

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