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Fullerton man sculpted Tiki gods to make good use of neighborhood totem

Vern Brock of Fullerton has found a way to make good use of coronavirus downtime for himself and his family while re-purposing a piece of neighborhood history and pursuing a passion all at the same time.

Ever since working in Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise and Enchanted Tiki Room as a young man, Brock has been drawn to tiki culture.



So when a couple of old, massive, partially diseased trees were being cut down in the historic preservation zone just north of downtown where he lives, Brock was struck with a spark of inspiration.

Brock and his neighbors watched as workers cut their trees down piece by piece to logs of various sizes.

The husband and father of three asked the workers if he could take a few logs and they gladly obliged, giving Brock five large logs along with some smaller pieces from the trees.

“The old growth trees, they just give such life and majestic quality to a town like this,” Brock said. “When they cut them down you just think, ‘Oh no.’

“But this is a way to preserve that history and a re-purpose it.”

And that is exactly what he did.

With Polynesian music playing in the background, Brock, a high school English teacher, got busy with a chainsaw, grinder, hammer and chisel and sculpted a tiki statue. Then he started on another.

Each piece has been crafted in the image of a Polynesian god.

“I’ve been wanting to do something like this for years and years,” Brock said.

Brock’s 6-year-old twin sons, Everett and Emerson, help out by chiseling the bark off the logs.

Rowan, Brock’s 7-year-old daughter, helped with painting and his wife, Stephanie, was in charge of overseeing the projects.

“It’s been kind of a cool inspiration for everyone,” Brock said. “Part of it is the whole COVID thing too. Now having all this extra time,  I have this clarity of mind and peacefulness with the family. It’s been the perfect timing for that.”

Some neighbors have been following suit and sculpting tiki statues in their own yards.

Brock has turned down offers to sell the pieces, neighbor Marla Sheehan said.

“They are: Wow,” Sheehan said. “Talk about making the most of COVID19 downtime.”

Source: Orange County Register

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