If one is perusing comments on social posts (whether Mondo's or my own) about our Tiki Mugs, you will tend to find a wiseguy or two posting something to the effect of “That's not Tiki!" in the comments. And I get it - sometimes the classic tiki influence may not be as prevalent in some of our designs as in others. Sometimes, however, the influence is clearly there, and the wiseguys still come out - “That's not Tiki!" And you know what? I kinda dig it at this point, as it's an opportunity to discuss - what is Tiki nowadays?
When we first announced our line of Tiki Mugs a few years ago, I posted a (very truncated) history of Tiki in American culture. Since then, Tiki has exploded more and more, and I feel it's worth re-contextualizing what we're doing with our Mondo Tee-kis line, and where we all fall into that history, as both makers and collectors of mugs.
If Tiki, and more specifically Tiki Mugs, are inspired by South Pacific/Polynesian design and various gods and idols, then what is Mondo doing? Are we not taking modern gods and idols, and putting them through the same design filters? Can Thanos, the Mad Titan himself, not be considered a god of the modern era, to be idolized in various sculpture forms and styles? I've seen so-called "classic Tiki" with sunglasses on, riding in cars, be actual buildings, etc., so where's the line? I don't have the answer, but maybe the answer is- there shouldn't be a line. Maybe "classic Tiki" is one thing, and what we make is "pop Tiki." Maybe it's all just designer drinkware, and like this debate, is best enjoyed with a few tropical drinks inside first.
With any fandom, there is a tendency for a small few of those that have been in that fandom the longest to gate-keep, ie "That's not metal!", "That's not a Star Wars film!", "That's not hip-hop!", "That's not horror!", and so on. And I feel it's our duty, regardless of fandom, to be inclusive towards and excited for new people coming into that thing you're into. They keep what you like alive, and even if their tastes are a bit different than yours, you still have that basic thing in common. So the next time someone says “That's not Tiki!", it's fine to say “It is for me!"
Anyway, with cheeky blog name origins out of the way, let's talk Tiki!
Today we've put up the latest in our Designer Series of mugs, the regular version of Spendor & Riches, designed by Becky Cloonan. While we've offered up the Blight and Plague variants before, the regular version, with its tan under-glaze with a dark brown wipe, is my personal favorite among the variations of this mug. For me, it's got that "Eastern European Church made out of bone" vibe to it, which of all the vibes, is one of my most adored.
Here's the original design by Cloonan:
And the mug:
A couple of weeks ago, we put up another Designer Series mug this one the Mouth of the Serpent Tiki Mug by Urban Aztec aka Jesse Hernandez. Take a look at his original design:
This is one of my favs in recent memory, especially the turquoise and brown glaze on the regular version. It's GORGEOUS in person, and we have two more glazes we have yet to release...
We also have just a few left of the Emperor's Gold variant, so if you like gold and shiny, this is the mug for you!
Let's take a gander in the back of our studio for a look at just a small amount of mugs on the shelf, waiting to be released.
First up we have more glaze variants for our El Ojo Fantastico Tiki Mug, designed by Mike Bonanno and sculpted by Tufan Sezer.
Speaking of Mike and Tufan, here are some more glaze variants of our Thanos mug, designed & sculpted by those two, respectively.
Here's an early look at our Rocketeer mug, in a style I like to call "Tiki Deco." This was designed by Eric Siebenaler and Sculpted by Brian Oskins.
Next up is this crazy rad Pennywise mug, designed by Doug P'Gosh, and sculpted by Tufan Sezer. This glaze isn't final, but what we have in mind is going to be even better I feel.
And sticking with Mr. P'Gosh designed and Mr. Sezer sculpted mugs, we're going back to our Designer Series with this mug Doug designed, Old Scratch. This is simply one of my most fav mugs we've done.
Another in our Designer Series is Innsmouth Creep, designed by Tiki artist Devon Devereaux, and sculpted once again by Tufan. This lil guy is super fun and cute.
And finally, we have the last of our Designer Series I'm sharing, and let me tell you, I know I've already said a few above are my personal favs, but this one is right up there- Death's Whisper, designed by Sara Deck. This mug is just special.
And that's all for now! As for the when and where of all the mugs above, be sure to keep an eye on our newsletter for announcements and order dates.
See you at the bar, and be sure to bring your mug!
-Brock Otterbacher, Creative Director of Toys & Collectibles