From Gecko’z South Sea Arts to Max’s South Seas Hideaway

After months of keeping things under wraps, we’re proud to make a HUGE announcement. Michigan is about to get a lot more tropical and whole lot more TIKI.

Coming soon to Grand Rapids MI, neighbor to Motor City / Motown, is Max’s South Seas Hideaway, the shrunken head brainchild of Mark Sellers, Martin Cate, and South Seas Arts’ own Mike “Gecko” Souriolle.

For the uninitiated, Mark Sellers is a Grand Rapids native, brewmaster, and renowned restauranteur who first threw his thatched hat into the tiki ring after opening of TikiCat, a tiki bar in the basement of the famed HopCat in Kansas City. And what about Martin Cate? Cate is one cat who knows his way behind and around the bar. The self-professed tiki-phile is a James Beard award-winning mixologist and owner of San Francisco’s Smuggler’s Cove, and partner in Whitechapel (also in San Francisco), Hale Pele in Portland, False Idol in San Diego, and Lost Lake in Chicago. Starting to ring a bell? And then of course there’s Gecko. If you’re reading this, you already know. Long story short – this new addition to the mainland tiki bar scene is in the most capable of hands. The only bottoms up you’ll find with this bar are the drinks!

Max’s interior will be adorned with original designs from Bamboo Ben, Tiki Diablo and Notch Gonzalez, a trio plucked from the best-known tiki artisans on the planet. The three story tropical escape with also be blessed by a massive collection of vintage and modern tiki art and decor, curated from the hidden corners of the world. And yes, there will be an unmistakable note of Gecko’z South Sea Arts wafting through the interior, including this collection of rescued and repurposed beams from Oahu’s historic Ward Warehouse.

south sea arts tiki totems

“We’re bringing an entirely new drinking and dining experience to Grand Rapids that we think will stand alongside the best tiki bars in the world” (Martin Cate) 

Stay tuned as we update you on new developments, including exclusive Max’s South Seas Hideaway mug releases, and the Grand Opening – coming soon!

Oahu’s Ward Warehouse History Gets Tiki Rebirth

Visitors to the island of Oahu who haven’t been to the landmark merchant center, Ward Warehouse, for the last couple of years are in for a bit of a surprise. It ain’t what it used to be. In place, is Ward Village, a “live work play” post-modern contemporary whatchamacallit that has replaced the iconic Kakaako shopping district. 

In the summer of 2017 the last remaining tenants were given notice to move out the 42-year-old (at the time) Honolulu retail and dining complex. Soon after it was shut down and demolished to make way for a luxury mixed residential and commercial project that stands there today, courtesy of Texas developer, the Howard Hughes Corporation. A few retailers survived, most importantly Nā Mea Hawaiʻi, which is not just a shop but a gathering place that exudes pride and respect for the Hawaiian culture, providing patrons with access to books, products, and artisan wares that speak to the culture, language, and traditions of the Hawaiian people. Granted, the space Nā Mea exists in today is a fraction of the size of the one that once stood in the Ward Warehouse. Most local businesses, however, didn’t make the cut. 

As you know, change is inevitable in the most populated of the Hawaiian Island chain, especially on the south shore. But does that mean we should sit on the sidelines as decades old establishments (and memories) fall to the wayside to make way for supposed progress? Certainly not. Protest? That’s for some. But for others it’s more about rescuing pieces of history, preserving and in some cases repurposing them to give them new life in a manner that honors what they once stood for. And that’s where this story comes in.

Gecko, of South Sea Arts, was able to rescue a total of 50 cedar and redwood beams from the old Ward Warehouse as it was being taken down. As it was to many Oahu residents, Ward Center held a special place in Gecko’s heart, a place where he and his family shared countless days and evenings of leisure, and where his son Kainoa performed hula with his halau. Over the last year, Gecko has worked tirelessly from his Makakilo studio, transforming each post into a work of art, inspired by the style of master carver Milan Guanko in addition to Witco and vintage Waikiki fifties hapa haole type work. Today, Gecko has almost completed the entire run of the repurposed Ward Warehouse post carvings, and one day they will collectively stand for thousands of people to admire. While their new home is currently under wraps, the new story for these pieces of Ward history will unfold. Until then, here’s a look at Gecko’s incredible work:

A Legacy Worth Preserving

Victoria Ward (as in Ward Center), daughter of Kaikilani, a woman of Hawaiian ancestry whose chiefly lineage had roots in Ka’u, Hilo and Honokowai, Maui.

Beams behind the scenes at the old Ward

Disney Themed Tiki Art and More – Gecko’z South Sea Arts Featured at Gallery Olani

Disney Tiki Art at Gallery Olani

In what continues to be another stellar year for South Sea Arts, we’re now proud to announce that our work is now on exhibit at Ko Olina’s famed Gallery Olani. Located right across the road (Ali’inui Drive) from Disney Aulani, Four Seasons Resort, and tucked between Ko Olina Golf Club and Ko Olina Resort, visitors and guests can take home a one of a kine masterpiece from Gecko without having to make the climb up to his Makakilo studio.

Given the proximity to the magical Aulani resort, it makes perfect sense to showcase Gecko’z Disney-inspired tiki art within the gallery. If you’ve been following South Sea Art’s Instagram lately, you’ll see that Gecko has been busier than ever with his reimagining of iconic characters that hold such dear places in the hearts of so many people across the world. A carefully curated selection from the Disney-themed series will be found at Gallery Olani, along with some of the other works and disciplines Gecko is so well known for, including ceramics and surfboard carvings. Below is a sneak peak at what you can currently find at the gallery:

Disney Tiki Art

And here is what’s been going on at the South Sea Arts studio:


Note: Pictured art may have already been sold. Contact Gecko for availability or for custom Disney-themed tiki art.

Click here for location and directions to Gallery Olani and feel free to contact them at 808.798.6984 to inquire about their current collection of Gecko’z work. Stay tuned for more exciting new updates from South Sea Arts


Four Seasons Ko olina Art Walk Exhibition to Showcase South Sea Arts Surfboards

Four Seasons Ko olina Art Walk Surfboards

The exciting news keeps coming as we make our way through 2018, and this time you’re welcome to become a part of it. Join Gecko of South Sea Arts as his repurposed surfboard carvings are put on display at the Four Seasons Ko olina Art Walk exhibition gallery and reception on May 12, 2018.

The affair features leading Hawaiian artisans, and showcases a myriad of unique works of art, ranging from paintings and photography to illustrations, carvings and custom surfboard designs. The event is complimentary and open to Four Seasons guests and the general public alike.

For those not yet familiar, Gecko’s surfboard carvings are fast becoming renowned around the island chain while exclusive collectors on the mainland and across the world are whispering oh-so sweet nothings about these South Sea Arts creations. His boards have graced the walls of Haleiwa’s Beach House, Wyland Galleries in Waikiki, and his work has been recently featured in Coastal Living Magazine. And now, you have the opportunity to soak up the mana of these intricate carvings. View more on Gecko of South Sea Arts’ surfboard art here or below, and we’ll see you at the Four Seasons Ko olina on Saturday, May 12.

Repurposed Surfboard Art Carvings

La Mariana Sailing Club Celebrates 60th Anniversary with South Sea Arts

La Mariana Sailing Club Tiki Mug It’s been six decades since the La Mariana Sailing Club opened its doors back in 1957.

Once again, South Sea Arts is honored to be called upon by the iconic tiki bar to deliver a special edition mug to recognize another important milestone. Those of you who have been to (or regularly frequent) La Mariana will recognize the design, lifted from the wood panels (see last photo below) of the establishment and expertly reimagined onto the unique flat-sided ceramic drinking vessel.

The mug is available within the La Mariana gift shop. Ask your server and they will get management to open the shop during the bar’s business hours. Alternatively, you can email management at and they will be happy to accept your order and ship it to you worldwide (if available). Mahalo for your support!

La Mariana Tiki Mug

La Mariana Tiki Bar