Oct 25, 2011


Little Inferno, Shag, oil on canvas, 2005

Josh Agle, or better known as Shag, derives his nickname from the last two letters of his first name, and the first two letters of his last name. Shag has a modernistic style with a sort of pop art look to it. His cartoonist form looks like it could be placed at the introduction to a T.V. sitcom, bringing a smile to any viewers face and setting a nostalgic feeling in their minds.

X, Shag, oil on canvas, 2004
 Shag's works celebrate consumption and consumerism, displaying it with bright colors and a playful looking depiction. Each of Shag's paintings show smoking, or drinking, or eating in a colorful surrounding but still his unique style brings a harmless and nostalgic feeling to the viewer for its cartoonish features regardless of the smoking, and drinking, and swinger lifestyle that is on display.

Shag was described by a critic as "a leading light in contemporary hip art". His work is a blend of mid 50's themed cover art mixed with a Tiki lifestyle, and a hint of modern irony of our modern habits. Shag's original form of painting style makes his work highly desired by collectors, for it overwhelms almost any viewer with a happy or giggly feeling. No matter what adult activities the subjects are subjecting themselves to they appear child-like with their bright colors and cartoon features. The product placement of the square shaped Jack Daniels, or a Jim Bean bottle, or the most popularly painted (and his preferred drink) Gilbey's London Distilled Gin is a way for Shag to make it abundantly clear and undisputable what it is he is trying to depict. There is no beating around the bush of if it is an "adult swinger lifestyle" he is painting or not, because of the recognizable labels put right into his painting.

Shag lived in Oahu, Hawaii and reflects the laid back theme and diverse "Tiki" like culture of the Hawaiian Islands in his paintings. Shag claims to have reflected his style of art from old cigarette ads and animations from the 50's and 60's. He started as an artist for independent record labels and was started becoming noticed by collectors and galleries, where he went on to produce multiple highly successful independent shows.

Cocktail Delivery, Shag, Oil, 2002
Shag has recently produced works for Disney which is on display at Disneyland and has done product and cover art for the movie The Pink Panther. His almost comical art form brings smiles to peoples' faces and will continue to provoke a childish response from its viewers no matter how serious the setting of the painting. Donna Con Bambino, an art exhibit reviewer, said it best when she said that Shag "invites viewers into a playful, mysterious and ironic world. Juxtaposing pithy subject matter with larger, detailed paintings, Shag magnifies viewers’ consciousness and experience".

- John Wolfe


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