Interview with Daniel Gallardo aka Tiki Diablo Tiki Art & Crafts Specialist

Daniel Gallardo
aka Tiki Diablo

Tiki Art & Crafts Specialist 

1) Who is Daniel Gallardo?

“As one of the first to pick up the chisel and resurrect the forgotten art form of sculpting Tikis, Daniel “Tiki Diablo” Gallardo has been on the forefront of the Tiki revival. His work is equally rooted in ancient tradition as it is in modern stylization. From large Tiki statues to ceramic cocktail mugs to complete Tiki bar interiors, Tiki Diablo’s art is gracing tropical hideaways from Palm Springs to Barcelona and Berlin. His intricate Tiki carvings can be found in theme parks, drive-in theaters and home Tiki bars.

~Sven Kirsten
Author and Urban Archaeologist  ”

2) Biggest achievement you personally feel you have accomplish for the rum industry.

   We have been creating high detail ceramic tiki mugs in the states since 2002. I feel like we helped to elevate the art of the tiki mug  (along with my fellow artist friends such as Bosko and Munktiki)  into a full blown collectible art piece, these aren’t just cups, but tikis you can drink out of. The art of mixology is creating something that is to be enjoyed with all the senses, It makes the whole presentation of a cocktail over the top. We are now producing limited edition mugs for bars such as the Tiki Ti, The Mai Kai, Forbidden Island and The Golden Tiki.  Collectors from all over the world line up to buy these branded tiki mugs. It’s a way to get a buzz going at the establishment while generating additional sales in rum drinks !  
Secondly was our line of Tiki Diablo tikis, planters and a portable bar last summer at Home Depot.  These were in about 600 stores from California to Louisiana. They virtually sold out in weeks, makes one very grateful. Tiki has a way of making you want to belly up to the bar and enjoy a good mai tai with friends.  Hopefully we converted a couple of people to full blown rummies through tiki.

3) What made you fall in love with rum and when did it happen?

Two things, when I came of drinking age and traded in my Zima for a proper Cuba Libre, then, during a weeks stay at the Ambos Mundos.  Being among buildings and people that had such soul and energy and then tasting that magic in the cocktails, I wanted to immerse myself, completely.

4) What is that thing that makes you want to continue in the rum industry? ?

The people!

5) Favorite Rum Drink + Recipe?  

I’d have to say it would be the Rum Rum Mistake which is a no Gin  Ray’s Mistake from the Tiki Ti in Los Angeles.  Its my go to drink when I drop in to hang out with friends and relax.  The recipe?  I don’t know it and truthfully I like it like that !

6) Where do you see the rum industry today and in the next 5 years?

I love where the rum industry is heading. Mainly how tiki drinks using rum are growing everywhere and finding their way onto the menus of fine watering holes all over the globe.   It has some of the most passionate people right now that are rum ambassadors to the world.  They are artists in their own right, creating some of the most sublime spirits and cocktails that make you want to participate, drink and travel to tropical destinations . I only see rum growing from here.

7) Share some (2-3) of your mentors and how they have help you. 

First and foremost my biggest influence and mentor has to be my father.  He has to be the most awe-inspiring human I have the pleasure of knowing.  He is an intelligent, creative , artistic, educated, loving and selfless man that I aspire to be like. they don’t make men like that anymore.

Of course, Oceanic Arts owners Bob Van Oosting & LeRoy Schmaltz. They are the last of the old guard of greats from the classic tiki era. Also Amy Boylan, who has run such companies as Shelby Motors and Hotwheels for Mattel.  They have always been very open to helping me with advice and encouragement while never hoarding information or contacts.  Amy helped me with my line of tikis last summer and I have been an Oceanic Arts reserve tiki carver for years.  Bob pulled me aside one day after the tiki line hit  and said he was proud of me. Now just to put this in perspective,  Bob and Leroy  have had a hand in just about every tiki bar from the beginning.  The Mai kai in Fort Lauderdale?  Yes.  SeaWorld and Disneyland?  Yes.  Outfitting Gilligans Island?  Tambien.

That was a good day.

7) What 3-5 things do you have in your bucket list for the next 12 months?

1. Finish building my Ford roadster hot rod.
2. A working vacation carving tikis in Europe again with my beautiful wife. Italy, France, you need some tiki ?
3. Produce a tiki mug or decanter for a rum distiller.
4. Start building a container house.

9) Any last words?

 Thank you for having me and allowing me to reach out to everyone .  If you see us at an event, please come up and say hello!

10) How can people learn more about you? Website? Social Media Page? 

You can find me at Daniel Gallardo (tiki diablo)  on FB, or @tikidiablo on IG

Author: Fede

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