Trivia time! What Does “Hala Kahiki” Mean?

Trivia time! Thanks to Lilo and Stitch, we know that “Ohana means family.” But what does the name of Rick Crane’s (@ThePaperCrane) tiki design “Hala Kahiki” mean? (Hint: we just had a post all about “Hala Kahiki” right here!)

In Hawaii, Hala Kahiki = pineapple! Pineapples never fail to bring tropical vibes to mind, and we kinda dig that Rick’s take on our tiki challenge combines an island paradise with synth-y, ’80s vibes. Because let’s be real, what more could you want?

We talked to Rick about channeling Hawaiian vibes all the way from the UK, the outdoorsy and wilderness-inspired style in his Artist Shop, and about whether he has the origami skills his username suggests. Check out the interview!

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“Many Lands Under One Sun” by Rick Crane

Tell us a little bit about yourself! Where are you from? What do you do?

I live on the edge of a large woodland on the Somerset – Wiltshire boarder and have a studio in the nearby town of Frome where my kids go to school. I’m definitely a country mouse at heart though and need to be close to nature.

Where does the name “The Paper Crane” come from?

I really appreciate origami (although I can’t do much more then fold a crisp packet into a triangle). The name was a pretty straightforward decision; my surname is ‘Crane’ and as a graphic designer, I worked with lots of ‘paper’.

I’ve never been that imaginative with names and my countless pets are proof of this. My first cat was called Tiger, my second called Tigger. I had a hooded rat named Robin and rabbits Flopsy and Mopsy. As a kid I used to raise ducks from eggs and to name a few, I had three little white call ducks called Huey, Dewey and Louie.

“Hala Kahiki” in action!

Tell me a little bit about this design! What was your process? 

I wanted to do something a little different, as my designs of this kind (see “Many Lands Under One Sun” above) usually revolve around natural landscapes. I went straight to the computer with this one after an initial thumbnail sketch on the back of an envelope. Despite being a minimalist design, It took me quite a while to perfect the pattern to give the simplest impression of a pineapple.

The skeleton and work in progress of “Hala Kahiki”.

What attracted you to this challenge?

In the damp, cold depths of winter I needed cheering up. I wasn’t going to attempt a tiki style but wanted to create something that made you think of fresh, cool fun in the sun.

“Hala Kahiki” featured on tanks, double duty phone case, a beach towel, dolman top, and travel mug.

Do you have a favorite tiki-inspired drink or food?

Here in the UK I am a long way from the warm and colourful cultural influences of Hawaii, but I do love pineapples!

“Hala Kahiki” IRL next to the Tiki winner, “Freaky Tiki“.

This style appears in a few of your other pieces – what first inspired this synth-y, minimal style?

I guess it developed out of my graphics background and knowing what I like in terms of design; clean, linear, carefully considered minimalism. I also love a bit of retro neon ’80s.

“Simplify” from Rick’s Artist Shop.

Your other outdoors-y designs seem more inspired by the mountains and wilderness than tiki vacations. Where would you most love to travel?

The mountains and rivers are always calling me; for walking, snowboarding, wild swimming and canoeing. Trying to finish converting my van for the next European road trip!

Some of your designs are super intricate! How long does a piece like that typically take?

Up to a week maybe. It is a bigger commitment to enter into so I don’t do as much as I’d like. I am a pretty meticulous artist, so I can get lost in the perfectionism of anchor points. keeping things simple most of the time keeps me sane. I do really like getting away from the screen and back to the drawing board though.

“Bird Beard” on Rick’s Facebook.
Close-up of the details of “Bird Beard”.

You seem to have refined your style to a more minimal style since you started submitting to Threadless. What (or who) is your biggest artistic inspiration?

Yes, I have definitely developed my strengths here on Threadless. Aside from nature, it’s hard to say what or who inspires me. There is so much creativity and inspiration out there and I have a pretty diverse taste.

As far as fellow Threadless artists go, I always have room in my wardrobe for designers like Brent Schoepf and Ross Bruggink.

“Solitude” from Rick’s Artist Shop.

What’s your design philosophy?

I think it’s that balance of clever simplicity and to create art around the things I love: the natural world, from my back garden to the depths of the universe.


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Carlyn Hill

Dad joke aficionado, cartoonist, & contributor for sites like HelloGiggles and The Mary Sue by night. When I'm not writing or drawing, you can find me in my cave of a room hanging out with my boyfriend, Netflix.