Shag, born Josh Agle in 1962, is an American designer, painter, and illustrator. His style is is based on a commercial illustration from the 1950s and 1960s. Shaq is a derivation of the last two letters of his first name, and the two first letters of his last name, the nickname he started using to sign his paintings around 1987. The artist claims that he never really aimed at being called Shaq, but it just happened. He opened a retail boutique and show space which sells solely his paintings, merchandise, and prints, the Shaq Store, in 2009 in Palm Springs, California. His works have been featured in several books.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Josh Agle worked as a commercial illustrator. He did his works in different styles, and one of the styles was the one he uses nowadays the most, the one based on the slick and kitsch of the 1950s and 1960s commercial illustration, which also reflects the things he likes, such as instrumental music, tiki masks, old vinyl records and cocktail lounges.
His works, boldly-colored and on sharply rendered panels, blend Bossa Nova album art and Disney animation. Shag portrays characters who drink, smoke, socialize and dine in luxurious, stylish, sophisticated settings.
He creates his paintings for galleries in an old-fashioned way, without the use of a computer. He only uses a computer to convert the art to a format which is appropriate for making stickers, t-shirts, and limited edition prints.
The All My Bones series was inspired by the stories from a book of Old Testament. Shag read these stories when he was a child, and re-read as he got older, finding completely different meanings. His paintings from this cycle deal with consumerism and consumption. Expressionless and emotionally-detached characters are surrounded by opulence and high-fashion, but indifferent to the luxury and lavish architecture.
Inspired by the Velvet Underground’s famous song All Tomorrow’s Parties, these series have an underlying central narrative, which connects all the works. In the song, Lou Reed sings about the downtown art scene in New York, and Josh Agle portrays the life of fame, wealth and excess. The recurring character is a naive girl searching for a new life, full of glamour and luxury. She parties on weekends, hoping to become a new muse of her superficial idols.
Shag has exhibited his works in many gallery exhibitions in both his home country and abroad, in Europe, Australia, South America and Asia. His first solo show took place in 1997. In 2002, he exhibited his works in his first New York gallery exhibition. The list of museums where his art has been displayed included the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Naples Museum of Contemporary Art in Naples, Italy, and the Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, California. The art critics Roberta Smith and Ken Johnson from The New York Times wrote about his shows.
Shag is represented by Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York.
He lives with his wife and two children, in a mid-century home with a view to a peaceful wooded alley, similar to homes which can be seen in his artworks. Agle claims that he was collecting 1950s modern furniture before he started painting homes with that style of furniture. Palm Springs in California is his second home and the place where he opened his Shaq Store in 2009. The artist is very enthusiastic about promoting Palm Springs.
All images © Shag
|2015||All My Bones||Jonathan LeVine Gallery, New York, NY||Solo|
|2015||The Color and the Fury: 10 Years of Jonathan LeVine Gallery||Jonathan LeVine Gallery, New York, NY||Group|
|2014||Art Truancy||Jonathan LeVine Gallery, New York, NY||Group|
|2013||Thursday’s Girl||Jonathan LeVine Gallery, New York, NY||Solo|
|2012||Goin’ Places||Rotofugi Gallery, Chicago, IL|
|2012||Outbound with the In-Crowd||Outré Gallery, Sydney, Melbourne & Perth, Australian|
|2012||Animal Kingdom||Corey Helford Gallery, Culver City, CA|
|2010||Ambergris||Jonathan LeVine Gallery, New York, NY||Solo|
|2010||Red Star, Black Eye||Rotofugi Gallery, Chicago, IL|
|2010||An Exquisite Hunger||Choque Cultural, Sao Paulo, Brazil|
|2010||Five Year Anniversary||Jonathan LeVine Gallery, New York, NY||Group|
|2009||Autumn’s Come Undone||Corey Helford Gallery, Culver City, CA|
|2009||Last Days of Magic||M Modern Gallery, Palm Springs, CA|
|2008||Voyeur||Jonathan LeVine Gallery, New York, NY|
|2008||The Birds and the Beasts||Outré Gallery, Sydney, Melbourne & Perth, Australian|
|2007||The Flesh is Willing||Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, CA|
|2007||Motorino||Roq La Rue, Seattle, WA|
|2007||Conspicuous Consumption||Billy Shire Fine Arts, Culver City, CA|
|2007||Four Hands: The Drawings of Shag||Galeria Pleayo47, Madrid, Spain|
|2007||The Merchant of Menace||The Shooting Gallery, San Francisco, CA|
|2007||The Immoderates||M Modern Gallery, Palm Springs, CA|
|2006||Donna Con Bambino||Jonathan LeVine Gallery, New York, NY||Solo|
|2006||After Dark||DVA Gallery, Chicago, IL|
|2006||On the Shoulders of Giants||Outre Gallery, Melbourne, Australia|
|2005||L.A. by Day by Night||Earl McGrath Gallery, Los Angeles, CA|
|2005||A Gracious Oasis||M Modern Gallery, Palm Springs, CA|
|2005||California Sun||Space Force Gallery, Tokyo, Japan|
|2005||L.A. By Night||La Luz de Jesus Gallery, Los Angeles, CA|
|2004||The Call of Kapu||Apart Gallery, London, UK|
|2004||Before the Eviction||Earl McGrath Gallery, New York, NY|
|2004||Heroes and Monsters||Sydney Opera House Studio Gallery, Sydney, Australia|
|2003||Music After Midnight||Space Force Gallery, Tokyo, Japan|
|2003||Shag A to Z||BGH Gallery, Santa Monica, CA||Solo|
|2003||Tell No One||OP-OX Gallery. Minneapolis, MN|
|2003||Greetings from the Soul Patch||Roq La Rue Gallery, Seattle, WA|
|2002||Sophisticated Misfits||Brea Museum, Brea, CA|
|2002||The Leisure Principle||CPOP Gallery, Detroit, MI|
|2002||People in the City||Earl McGrath Gallery, New York, NY|
|2002||Hedonist Confidential||Sydney Opera House Studio Gallery, Sydney, Australia|
|2002||An Open Letter to the Emporer||Roq La Rue Gallery, Seattle, WA|
|2001||Dangerous Women||Fumiyart Gallery, Tokyo, Dept South, Osaka, Japan|
|2001||The Coolest Ghouls||Forbidden Gallery, Dallas, TX|
|2001||The Sinners Cookbook||La Luz de Jesus Gallery, Los Angeles, CA|
|2000||Supersonic Swingers||Outre Gallery, Melbourne, Australia|
|2000||The Calypso Show||Boritzer Gray Hamano Gallery, Santa Monica, CA|
|2000||J is for Jetsetter||La Luz de Jesus Gallery, Los Angeles, CA|
|1999||Dial H for Hipster||Outre Gallery, Melbourne, Australia|
|1999||The Party Crashers||La Luz de Jesus Gallery, Los Angeles, CA|