"Bought Five Copies for my Mother!..."
Spring Issue 2006... Sold Out!!

CrazyAL was the first person to grace the cover of Tiki Magazine. Also the issue was the first to completely 'Sell Out' the distributor!! A feature article describes the artist's introduction to 'Tiki' and a life long tropical trip into escapism.
read this article below

Look for 'CrazyAL's Tiki Corner' in back issues of Tiki Magazine!
A continuing article written by CrazyAL described the tiki adventures
had while sculpting his unique and varied Tikis..
such as
Summer '06 includes Tikis #1 & #2
Winnter '06 includes tiki #3 'King Tiki'

Meet CrazyAL
By Nick Camara

He's one of the most celebrated artists on the Tiki scene today. He's also the front-man of one of the most popular Exotica band's, APE. If Tiki culture today had a face, it could be the face of "Crazy AL" Evans. I first met Crazy Al at the 2004 Tiki Oasis. I had heard he was a terrific Tiki carver but had never met him. At first sight, I saw a tall, slender guy with long hair that had a bone in it. He was doing a dance and really enjoying himself. I thought to myself, "Maybe this guy really is crazy." After talking with Al, a person comes to understand that he is a fun-loving, intelligent, soft-spoken and an extremely talented guy. And, he's not totally crazy.

Crazy Al started life as Allan Evans on June 2, 1967 in Phoenix, Ariz. He grew up in the affluent Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale. He describes his childhood as kind of a "Leave It To Beaver" type of existence.
Al's father was a South Pacific veteran from Chicago who became a doctor and moved out west. He had a knack for collecting Hopi Kachina dolls. "My father loved loud Aloha shirts and the television show, Hawaii 5-0." It seems the coconut didn't fall too far from the tree.
A family trip at the age of 5 would also have a big impact on young Al. It was his first trip to Hawaii. "I remember loving Hawaii, it was so different. I was completely in awe of my surroundings. I also liked the fact that pretty girls were always giving me attention, putting leis around my neck and kissing me on the cheek. You can't beat that." The trip to Hawaii served as an awakening. It would be more than 25 years later that Al would return to Hawaii. But the thought of exotic Hawaii would always stay with him. Upon returning to Phoenix, Al had to settle for the Big Surf water park as being his only tropical outlet. The many local icons of places like the Kon-Tiki
Hotel in Phoenix where ever present however. "I remember my older sister,
Cathy, coming home from the Scottsdale Trader Vic's, and remarking on what a great time it was. She was eighteen and I was eight."

Al's interest in art goes back as far as he can remember. "I always loved art, I remember winning my school's Grand Prize Ribbon for a toothpick sculpture of a lifeguard tower in the 3rd grade."; He remembers sculpting faces in dirt
mounds and working with a form of Play-Doh that his mom would make from scratch. An early hero of Al's was his grandfather, Edwin Goff Cooke, born in 1900. "My grandfather was the most influential person in my becoming an artist. He really helped direct the artistic talent that I had." Al describes his grandfather as a "jack of all trades." "He worked in the printing trade with color separation.... He was an artist." Al remembers. "He had a total love of the arts. He was practiced in drawing, painting, film making, acting, and loved them all. He also loved science. To a small child, he seemed to be an expert in everything. He would give me little lessons in
all of the above. My grandfather was the first person who took an interest in me as an artist. It wasn't until after my "Crazy AL" nickname was given to me that my mom told me about my grandfather's chronic back pain. He fell from a ladder. Seems he was using it not to paint, but rather to stand atop, at a cocktail party, on his head. My brother Ed was named after him, however, he became the doctor and I became the artist."
Two years or so after high school, Al moved to California. His move to
California would introduce relationships with two people who would have a direct impact on his life as an artist. The first would be a re-acquaintance with family friend Robert Tolone. Robert is an artist in Long Beach, Calif. At the time, Robert worked with chain-sawed wood. Al did rough, or pre-sculpting on Robert's
whimsical creations. For Al, sculpting, was like
a fish taking to water. What you might find hard to believe is, Al has never taken a sculpting class in his art education. �Sculpting was always something that came easy to me. Now painting and drawing, that�s tough.� Some of the first projects Al worked with Robert on were Christmas ornaments and carved fish. One of Robert's Fish sculpts was used in Al's 1988 Christmas card. Robert continues to lend support to Al's carrier. " if there wasn't a Robert Tolone, there wouldn't be a Crazy AL." Al says thankfully.

Al moved to California to enrolled at the reputable Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. He graduated in December 1991 with a degree in Illustration. While at Art Center, Al would meet future APE band mate Eric Rindal. Eric was a fellow classmate who helped cement Tiki into Al�s life. Eric was in an old-school surf band, The Swingin� Tikis. The band wore old Hawaiian shirts, jackets and small Tiki necklaces. Al
started going to their shows and this is where he acquired his �Crazy Al�
moniker. �The band would play the song Wipe Out and I would go off and do this wild dance. They would always play the song, and I would always do that crazy dance,
and before you knew it they started referring to me as Crazy Al. The nickname has stuck ever since.� The Swingin� Tikis also provided Al with his
first opportunity to do Tiki carvings. He created wood Tiki necklaces for the band. This would lead to Al's first major 'Tiki Prodject'. One of Eric's final Art Center assignments
was to mix the talents of Graphic Design, Illustration, Photography etc... in a joint project. Eric chose to do "album art" for the Swingin' Tikis based on his drawing of
little tiki-men band members. "I had now switched to a 3D illustration style,"
Al remarks, "and did one of my sculpted wood dioramas for Eric's project. It had a Tiki Island theme with real, miniature Lagoon and King Kong "Swingin' Tiki Wall". Fellow student Mitch Tobias, also now in APE, photographed my illustration. It ended up in the School Gallery." The next tiki creation
was a 10" pencil in which a Tiki was carved. This was also of Eric Rindal design. It was photographed by Mitch and used as an image on Eric's first business card.
Al created
"Crazy AL's Bone Productions" right out
of school. This one man company created many of these small tiki images for a yet untapped market. In 1996, a friend commissioned Al to carve his first large Tiki sculptures based on his previous small images. The Crazy Al style of carving is conceptual and highly detailed. Al has been
known to spend well over 30 hours on a Tiki. He looks at each carving as a new adventure because each palm log is different. "I try to use the whole log. I leave alot un-carved and even exploit the bark of the tree in the carving itself.

I want to keep the 'living' aspect of the wood alive. I think I've create an oxymoron, "Fine Art Tiki". My inspiration comes from Tiki as a meaningful object. I wish to create something conceptual, completely new and individual. Yet I am working within a particular subject matter not thought of as completely new or individual, Tiki". Al lists his artistic influences as Primitive
Art such as the Kachina dolls of his youth and a fascination with National Geographic type images."Primitive man used art to speak to God or at least understand what God is. That's powerful stuff."

Some of the special Tikis and/or projects Al has been involved with are: Tikis for Tiki�s Bar & Grill in Waikiki. �Creating Tikis for Hawaii and the first Tiki bar in Waikiki in sometime is an honor for me.�{photo} The installation of two tikis for the front entery way of Creative Capers Ent. Inc, an animation studio, is another project Al is proud of. "Using the animators' design and
then incorporating my mixed media techniques on the pieces was a great challenge."

The large 8-foot Tiki in the Lucky Tiki in Mission Hills, Calif. has received a lot of notoriety. Tiki fire places, "I did a 12' X 6' stucco tiki fireplace in LA a while back, and just did a real lava rock tiki fire place for the Lucky Tiki."{photo} Al has been known to work in tandem with the multi-talented Bamboo Ben of Huntington Beach, Calif. in creating some of the coolest Tiki bar/restaurants around. "The décor of the Hale Tiki in Augusta, Georg., as well as the new Kona Club in Oakland, CA where both very fun and creative projects."{photo} Most recently, a seven foot, five tikis in one sculpture highlights Al's carrier. It was done as part of an incredible Tiki Room interior that Bamboo Ben created for Lee Unkrich. (this is the Tiki featured with Crazy Al on the cover of this issue of Tiki Magazine) "This is my first attempt at using abalone inlay. It was extra cool to use hand-me-down abalone shell scrap from Ben's illustrative family's beach combing"{photo}

Crazy Al�s art has been in many art shows over the years. The first was a show by Tiki News at the La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Hollywood, Calif. in 1996. The Tiki featured was from a palm tree that he dug up at his boyhood home in Arizona. It had a cow bone in it's nose that Al found while hiking in Sedona, AZ. His 'Tiki Shoes" also featured in this first show is still one of Al's favorite pieces.{photo} Al has been a part of many other tiki shows: Cacao Coffeehouse in Santa Monica,Calif., Copro-Nason Gallery in Culver City, Calif., M Modern Gallery in Palm Springs,Calif., and both Tiki Art Now! shows at the Shooting Gallery in San Francisco. This last year Al, along with Tiki Tony, was given a front window space for a tiki room installation.{photo}

Al just concluded a traveling retrospective show from August through December 2006 featuring 10 plus years of his Tiki art with stops in Long Beach, Los Angeles. As well as highlighting Al's past works, each show debuted a new Tiki mug design. The new mugs are a continuation of Crazy AL's Tiki Gallery Collection, based on his Tikis of the last ten years. Al also had other new merchandise for sale at these events. Stay tuned to Al�s website www.tikimania.com for more information about upcoming shows.

The Tiki mugs that Al has sculpted include four mugs for Tiki Farm between 2000-2002.{photo} He started Crazy AL's Tiki Gallery Collection with his own mug of Tiki#13 in 2004. He created the APE mug and later the APE cookie jar which were co-designed by Eric Rindal also in 2004. He did the sculpt for the Electric Tiki shot glass based on their logo. A Tiki Farm Don Ho mug, that came out in 2005, was also Al's work.

Al has also has spent a time sculpting for the toy business. He�s done work for several marketing firms working with Disney and Warner Brothers characters. His Lion King figurines are something to see.{photo?}

As a departure, Crazy Al has revisited painting. This is witnessed by his black velvet "Edgar's Eden" displayed in his Tiki Art Now! installation.{photo?} This painting reflects a future project that Al has in the works. It is a calendar featuring his Tikis but photographed like Exotica album art. �The shots would feature my Tikis photographed with an exotic model. It would look similar in style to the old Exotica albums of yesteryear.� He got the idea from friend and photographer, Sean Murphy. They did a shoot for the inside art for APE�s CD Jungle Gems, which featured one of Al�s Tikis with an exotic model. �An idea was born! We have to make a calendar!�.{photo}

Adding to his repertoire, Crazy Al takes his art to the stage. He is the front-man for the San Francisco-based Exotica band, APE. Al does live Tiki carving on stage and provides lead vocals for the band. It is something that must be seen in person to fully appreciate. You haven�t lived Tiki until you've seen APE. Live Tiki carving with smooth Exotica sounds, then wild drums and dancing till dawn. For eight years APE has wowed folks with their unique shows. This means a lot traveling for Al considering that he lives in Huntington Beach in Southern California.

Crazy Al�s artistic talent, sense of humor, and outgoing personality make him a natural for the media. Crazy Al has been featured on television numerous times in local broadcasts in Orange County, Los Angeles, Palm Springs and San Francisco. He has appeared on national TV for the Discovery Channel�s Dude Room, and TV Guide Channel�s Ready, Set, Change. Al's voice is even in a seven second sound chip in Fiesta Toy's plush Tiki Party line.

As you might expect Al is a very busy guy. But, he has been involved with several Philanthropic and Charitable causes. Some of these include Tsunami Relief and the American Stroke Association. This last year, Al raised over $8,000.00 for the American Stroke Association's Train To End Stroke. He did this by finishing the Honolulu Marathon and raffling off the 100th Tiki of his career to contributors. �I can�t thank the Tiki community enough for their support,� Al said.

In his small amount of spare time, Crazy Al likes to collect Primitive Art and do just about anything active. He likes to go Snowboarding, Skateboarding, Biking, Hiking or Beach Bumbing.

Asked about the future of Tiki, Crazy Al feels Tiki has a bright future. �Tiki is about escapism. I was this kid from Scottsdale who wanted nothing more than to run around in the jungle with Tarzan. It is the search for nirvana, a comfort zone. I feel Tiki will never die. People are very nostalgic. As long as there�s ocean breezes blowing and waves crashing on a group of islands called Hawaii, there will be Tiki!�

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