The works in Shag: The art of Josh Agle have a well-defined aesthetic. It’s wood panelled interiors and martini glasses. It’s the tiki lounge. It’s poodles. It’s mods on scooters. The worlds that Agle creates are at once retro-kitschy whilst entirely modern and 21st century. And he is full of mischief and surprises. Just when you think you’re in for another party scene interior peopled with heavily eyelinered women and jauntily quiffed men…in comes a pink elephant with a bottle of Seagram’s and a cocktail shaker…wearing a fez.
It’s the presence of mythical creatures, man sized grasshoppers, yetis and even the rubella virus that keeps the lounge singers, beatniks, and spies in check. A cosmic balance of sorts.
Agle had every intention of being an illustrator, and you can see how “advertising friendly” his work is, but then his original works started to be snapped up by galleries and collectors. Known as Shag (from joSH AGle) he’s now an industry, with fans able to purchase everything from prints to lunchboxes, calendars to zippos and everything in between.
Agle’s subject matter is very much of the same era as the television series Mad men and one can imagine those angst-laden advertising execs rubbing shoulders with Agle’s boldly coloured bouffant beauties. A new internet toy that lets you Mad Men Yourself has a little bit of the look of Agle’s look but sadly, no pink elephants bearing liquor. Enjoy!