Rhondak Native Florida Folk Artist August 2008 Picking Up The Pieces
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Rhondak Native Florida Folk Artist August 2008 Picking Up The Pieces

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Picking up the pieces....after the death of TiKiMan AKA Alan Keller. RhondaK hits the road, picks up some stores, sells at shows, looks for WHY.

Picking up the pieces....after the death of TiKiMan AKA Alan Keller. RhondaK hits the road, picks up some stores, sells at shows, looks for WHY.
Flagler Beach. Sarasota. Fun Florida Places.

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  • Hey Rhonda...

    As per usual I found your report absorbing and interesting. Our lives are worlds apart, geographically and physically, and that is probably in part why I find your shows interesting. However, I also appreciate your direct expression of feelings and reports of situations, and admire your good spiritual energy and apparent strong will to move to the next challenge. For sure you're a free spirit and a good person.

    Again, I'm sincerely sorry for the loss of your dear friend, but I know that you'll work your way through your grief, and eventually be able to distill the good memories to retain within your heart, and dispense with any negative stuff.

    I wish you good luck in your endeavors, and that God may bless you and keep you, and give you the strength to find fulfillment. Take care, Graham
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Rhondak Native Florida Folk Artist August 2008 Picking Up The Pieces Rhondak Native Florida Folk Artist August 2008 Picking Up The Pieces Presentation Transcript

  • Picking Up the Pieces August 2008 Trying not to cry myself to death after the suicide of TiKiMan, travelling to Flagler County and working through Tropical Storm Fay…True tales of Native Florida Folk Artist on the road and off. August 2008
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  • I had a vacation and show opportunity on the East Coast of Florida when I found out that Alan AKA TiKiMan had killed himself. I wasn’t sure if I should go. I spent some time talking to a psychiatrist, a preacher and a medium. Apparently Alan was sorry, the medium said, he kept saying he was so sorry, sorry, sorry. And he’d fallen in with evil forces. I began to think that my going to the Keys or not going away would have me falling in with my own version of “evil forces.” The medium e-mailed me that Alan was happy I’d decided to go on vacation. The Preacher and Psychiatrist said I should focus on building a legacy using what I learned from Alan and making it larger. The weeks proceeding my drive to Flagler Beach was one of sleeping pills and nonstop crying. I got nothing done and likely scared some co-workers. But honest, how can I survive his death? I do not have an answer for this question. Before I left I did a small show in Sarasota inside a condo a local company was throwing a party in to attract attention to its many amenities. My mom came to help me which encouraged me. And then the oddest thing happened. The owner of Sarasota Architect Salvage came up to me and said he wanted to sell my work. He also had wood for me. A miracle. And that’s when I began wondering if Alan was now my muse more than ever before. A muse angel. In the weeks following his death, I picked up three new places to sell my work. Which at one time…had been OUR work.
  • My mom with our work at the Sarasota show in the Rosemary District.
  • Sarasota Show, Rosemary District
  • The first place I stop when I go to Flagler Beach is the Dog Pound biker bar in Bunnell. They allow dogs in the bar. This is where Sadie saw a ghost. I saw a man I might have the chance to love one day.
  • The second place I stop is Finnegan’s Bar which has a roof top bar overlooking an amazing expanse of the Atlantic Ocean and my favorite road A1A.
  • Finnegan’s first floor was being renovated.
  • This is the Finnegan’s Bar Flagler Beach version of the Flip Flop Blow Out...you just keep walking.
  • My third stop on the way to the Si Como No Inn where I stay near Flagler Beach ( it is in Beverly Beach) ..is the Golden Lion. They now have a hell of a bartender called “Tiki.” I thought that coincidental. Mark is also a well regarded master of booze. The Golden Lion is dog friendly so the pug and I sat outside looking at the beach.
  • Si Como No Inn http:// www.sicomonoinn.com / This is my favorite retreat. The Si Como No Inn is a small one story collection of cottages with a tiki bar. The tiki bar was being used as a surf school when I was around. They are opening a gift shop that will feature my work and also sell Beech Sandals. This is a dog friendly hotel that is a great getaway for the writer, artist, surfer and lover of Old Florida.
  • Si Como No Inn http:// www.sicomonoinn.com / The back of the Si Como No Inn is a sulfur Spring. The front is A1A and a secluded beach. You can also arrange for surfing instruction with East Coast Champ Jimmy B. I was there during Surf School. Those were some lucky kids!
  • Si Como No Inn http:// www.sicomonoinn.com / The back of the Si Como No Inn is also a creek that goes to the Halifax River. So there’s some great kayaking, too. Though my experience was I got lost in the mangroves and nearly attacked by a pit bull. But I’m sure YOU would have better luck.
  • Si Como No Inn http:// www.sicomonoinn.com / Flagler Beach and Beverly Beach are dog friendly. They also support a lot of wildlife including sea turtle nests.
  • Si Como No Inn http://www.sicomonoinn.com/ The beach in front of the hotel is mostly isolated. It is a lovely place. This is how it looked from my beach blanket looking left and right.
  • Si Como No Inn http://www.sicomonoinn.com/ I am glad that Alan in his spirit state wanted me to come here. If you believe in that sort of thing. Do you?
  • Si Como No Inn http://www.sicomonoinn.com/ I found that cutting the top out of straw my hat gave me a new way to wear my dreads. This is my new show hair look. Practical on several levels!
  • Si Como No Inn http://www.sicomonoinn.com/ On this trip I picked up a lot of damaged found wood. I carried my drill and worked on some signs while there. Next time I’m taking my saw too. This sort of a taste of how I could travel more, restock, paint and sell signs made of items I find on the road.
  • Si Como No Inn http://www.sicomonoinn.com/ Marti, the Inn Keeper/Owner/FUN of the Si Como No Inn is opening up a gift store on the property. She is selling Beech sandals and also my work. If anything sells, it is going towards my time I’m staying there in December. As an artist it is important to realize that you can make more than money from your art, sometimes you can create space for yourself to find time to create.
  • Si Como No Inn http://www.sicomonoinn.com/ I’m trying to stay 2 weeks here in December so I went to check out some shows I might do to keep me in food and gas while I am there. I did the St. Augustine Beach Farmer’s Market which happens on Wednesdays. This is some pics from the show and close ups of my work I took on the road. It was also my intent to find a new place to sell my work on the East Coast.
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com Tiki bar signs, mermaids, inspirational signs, funny drinking signs and more.
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com Tiki bar signs, mermaids, inspirational signs, funny drinking signs and more.
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com Tiki bar signs, mermaids, inspirational signs, funny drinking signs and more.
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com Tiki bar signs, mermaids, inspirational signs, funny drinking signs and more.
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com Tiki bar signs, mermaids, inspirational signs, funny drinking signs and more.
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com Tiki bar signs, mermaids, inspirational signs, funny drinking signs and more. I couldn’t actually sell at the show because I didn’t have a tax receipt for St. John’s County. So I set aside some signs to give away. It was one of the best shows EVER. People wouldn’t take more than one. Every sign that was taken had a story. One sign went to a new house. Another went to a returning soldier. It read: Land of the Free because of the Brave. Another tequila sign went to these ladies who had tequila the night before and found all four could share one shot! It was the old Carlin saying: One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, FLOOR.
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com Met a talented St. Augustine Mermaid artist. I tried to trade her a $100 sign she was interested in for this merman. She declined. I’m OK with it because it reminded me of Alan in a sort of painful, wishful way.
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com Here’s some pics from places and art on A1A between Flagler Beach and St. Augustine. Sadie the Sales Pug had to sit out the show. She stayed back at the hotel and slept.
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com Pomar’s is one of my favorite A1A cold beer joints and they sling a hell of a breakfast. Also they have unusual touches, images and old fashioned carved tiki style wood mermaids. Very unusual place.
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com Pomar’s is one of my favorite A1A cold beer joints and they sling a hell of a breakfast. Also they have unusual touches, images and old fashioned carved tiki style wood mermaids. Very unusual place.
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com I also went here for breakfast with this hot biker guy I met at the Dog Pound.
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com Note the old school tiki carver mermaids on the wall to the left and right.
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com This is Pomar’s Breakfast Sausage Dog and grits with gravy. With a cold beer—FANTASTIC. They were out of tomato gravy. Maybe next time. This is a authentic good time cold beer sort of joint. RECOMMENDED.
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com In fact Pomar’s deserves this sign.
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com Other Florida Natives I found while walking the pug.
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com I went to the A1A Crab Shack. It used to be a real cool biker bar beach shack on A1A. Nice people. That’s all gone. I didn’t like the food here and they didn’t have blue crabs. How can you be a Florida Crab Shack without blue crabs? The only crab they had was the snow crab. Seriously. Shameful. BUT their bath room had really cool art. I could figure out who the artist was.
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com I went to the A1A Crab Shack. It used to be a real cool biker bar beach shack on A1A. Nice people. That’s all gone. I didn’t like the food here and they didn’t have blue crabs. How can you be a Florida Crab Shack without blue crabs? The only crab they had was the snow crab. Seriously. Shameful. BUT their bath room had really cool art. I could figure out who the artist was.
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com During Tropical Storm Fay I had to paint. I’m getting ready for Geckofest in Gulfport on August 30, 2008. I was wind blown and beat in a head with a tree. So I kept to simple signs using a lot of wood I had found in Flagler County.
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com This is where I paint in Siesta Key. I do not have an inside studio. The wood to the right is found wood I’ve collected.
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com Sadie sits out with me when I paint. She liked the wind. But since all the lizards were hiding because of the storm, she had nothing to do.
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com I got a lot done, but the Sadie got a lot bored. It isn’t easy being a tiki bar sign painter’s sidekick.
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com Because I am still crying everyday, I painted one of my signs….Surviving the Impossible makes More Possible …the Tide Always Changes. When the medium that was “talking” to Alan she went to my website and she said he pointed out this sign with a wish for me to hold on to it. True? Not True? I don’t know.
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com These are my $5 signs I was working on during the storm. I sort of got fixated on “Florida Native – Storm Tested” as the tree limbs kept beating me in the head as I painted.
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist http://www.rhondakwrites.com After I got a lot done, I took Sadie the Sales Pug to the Siesta Key Oyster Bar to celebrate. I have to tell you, I’d given anything if Alan had been there because they had one of my signs out front. I had some good beer and finally felt like I’d sat down for the first time in weeks. And if you’re going to cry, crying in your beer is the way to go..
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist
  • RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist
  • Sadie Pug Before and After Working with Me then Working it At Siesta Key Oyster Bar:
  • The past few weeks of finding out Alan had killed himself has been tough. I wouldn’t be a tiki bar sign painter girl if it wasn’t for him. I’ll miss him longer than forever. But I also feel he is still at work in my life in a way that feels ALIVE. I’ve picked up a lot of new business, met some great people and am doing OK. I wish we could have shared this together, but I’m going on with his legacy in my heart with the intent to do him honor for the love he gave me.