Who are you and where are you from? My name is Jimmy Dean (I promise you, the breakfast sausage joke DOES indeed get old). I’m a true Florida native, born and raised on the Space Coast.
Why did you decide to start carving tikis? While in between jobs in the early part of 2015, I did some soul searching. I began to ask myself what was I doing, how had I been living my life, and what did I truly want for the future. My findings were that I love nature, have an entrepreneurial spirit, and a desire to build.
Where did you learn to carve? My thirst to use my hands and return to the outdoors steered me to visit a local friend who carved tikis in his spare time. I was interested in the process and began to apprentice under his guidance. By mid 2015, I carved my first official tiki. It had a silly grin and pineapple headdress. My family and friends were pleasantly surprised with my new found talent. The confidence boost inspired me to carve more tikis.
Where do you get your materials and what do you use to carve? Reclaimed wood, being a native, I like to use a part of my roots by transforming native Sabal palms into something new. Reduce, Creative Reuse, & Recycle. I use a chainsaw for most of my work and chisels for the finer details, except when I’m at music festivals, I use solely chisels so I’m not interrupting people that are enjoying the music.
Where did your business begin? Having always been a big supporter of local & small business, I decided to set up some tikis at my home town’s Farmer’s Market. Thus, turning my hobby into an opportunity to meet people and earn money. Eager to provide more options and increase my skill set, I began carving more detailed pieces. Evolving from tikis to seascapes, 3D sculptures, and unique custom requests. Which then paved the way for me to attend other venues.
Where can we find you now? I discovered that music events, festivals, and art shows are my calling. Humanity coming together through imagination is an energizing and uplifting experience. The good vibes and creative expressions are motivating and fuel my enthusiasm. I also have my own website, FloridaChill.net. It came about because of people always ask me what my carving style was, I just started telling them “Florida Chill”. It’s basically my way of incorporating chance, necessity, hard work, patience, and positive vibes all into one.
What do you love most about the Annual Tiki Carver Invitational? I take a lot of pride in my work, so winning is always great, but for me, what excites me most is the competition itself. I get to carve beside a bunch of other talented carvers, see the many different styles that people create and gain inspiration by meeting lots of new people.
Come watch, and even bid on, Jimmy’s, and many other talented Tiki Carvers, beautiful creations at the 2nd Annual Tiki Carver Invitational April 20 & 21 at Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach.