Family, Friends of Wayne Coombs Gather In Remembrance
By Giles Malone // September 23, 2012
BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA — Friends and family of beloved and famed Cocoa Beach artist, Wayne Coombs, who passed away September 4, gathered at the late artist’s Mai Tiki Gallery in Cocoa Beach to share memories of the recently departed artist.
Over 200 people attended the remembrance of Coombs and reminisced citing fond memories that they had of the larger than life character that was Wayne Coombs.
“Wayne was an original…like his art,” said surfing friend Pete Dooley.
“We all miss him a lot. It’s tough.”
“I lost a really good friend,” said Ray Baldino, a fellow artist in Cocoa Beach.
Coombs wife and partner Beki, was wearing her trademark beautiful smile with eyes wet with tears.
“Wayne would have loved to see all his friends,” she said.
Coombs passed away at 62 and was born in Miami.
After moving to Cocoa Beach at 14, he opened his first art gallery in 1962 called “Free and Creative” and later created the Mai Tiki Studio in 1973.
Wayne’s distinctive style is especially evident in his colorful paintings. Identifying them as a “different Zone”, they are the most current results of his passion to create.
His diligence, style, and creativity in the Art of Tiki has garnered him legendary status and respect worldwide, Wayne is credited by many, for this momentum and growth in Tiki carving and exposure, as being the designs that define the look of Tiki today.
Along with his wife Beki, he founded Mai Tiki Studio/Gallery in 1973. It remains a “must see: in Cocoa Beach, Florida, to this day…
Wayne Coombs saw something in his discarded palettes, figures and flowers of all forms caught his eye. These reconstituted “found” art pieces became all the rage in The Mai Tiki Gallery. Next Wayne began piecing these small misshapen pieces together. Coombs used torn Cardboard for his paint mixing. The creases, the corrugation, the colors, form a depth of art that draws you in.