Tikis: A Geometric Legend


There is a Jurassic World graphic-tee design competition in process of rating for Hot Topic. I wanted to push a dinosaur to have a more geometric style.


What better place to look than Tikis?

Carvings are a really old form of art, and this fits perfect with dinosaurs. Tikis are often head or body statues, depending on the craft of the sculptor.

They were originally created to represent the demi-god: the Samoan Ti’iti’i or Hawaiian Maui who was considered by legend the first man. It was said that if the represented god was pleased with the likeness then he would inhabit the statue and watch over the village.

Tikis aren’t limited to a single type of wood or one set size. They can be statues, totem poles, pendants or found within tattoos. It’s a form so strong that it still carries on today.

One carver, based in Hawaii, breaks down how important the facial elements are:

  • Eyes looking up=protection
  • Eyes looking down=good luck
  • Smiling=Happiness/brings peace
  • Sticking out Tongue=sign of a warrior
  • Flowers=love
  • Turtles=long life/family

Screenshot (242)  Screenshot (239)

He mentions that designs are carved into the top of the head to complete the story. With every tiki, every carving, each is individual and unique in meaning. This all varies on which symbols are combined together. Like a grid, so many designs can be chosen based on the set facial features, poses, and additional designs carved into the head or body. Some are meant to benevolent, some malevolent. Some offer wisdom and strength. Most offer a sense of protection, and in the film Jurassic World, the Mosasaurus definitely comes through as the saving grace of the film.


Design Image
Beware Underwater: my final submitted design

The Mosasaurus was one that I hadn’t seen many designs for. I wanted to create a design that I would buy or want to see if I were in Hot Topic. There’s something about the strong aesthetic of tikis that lures us in.

Most tikis represent the form of revival. In the Jurassic series: their entire story is also based on the revival of the past.



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