The art of Shag

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!

Black velvet masterpieces

I have to admit to a bit of a hankering for all things kitsch.  You know, tiki lounge decor, shag pile rugs, garish day-glo colours.  I’d never have any of them in my own house but I love poring over the kitsch extravagances of others.  Black velvet masterpieces : highlights from the collection of the velveteria museum is the perfect opportunity to indulge in a little vicarious velvet painting appreciation from the comfort of my own, completely non-velvet adorned home.

This book has every kind of awful velvet painting image you could want for and more!  Big-eyed children, crying clowns, kittens, Jesus, and of course…Elvis Presley all feature.  More astonishing (to me) is the fact that there is a whole museum or “velveteria” devoted to the alternate art form.  If I ever find myself in Portland, Oregon and feel a very strong need to gaze on the glory of Jesus blessing a Mack truck, I’ll know exactly where to go.  Kitsch-tastic!

Apartment therapy

Apartment Therapy
Apartment Therapy

Some of you sensible people out there might have well insulated homes, but I don’t and frankly “dahlings” I’m finding living in a 90 meter square fridge and having condensation streaming down the walls terribly last year.  If I was sensible I’d take a trip to Bunnings and invest in some pretty pink batts and investigate heating options but instead I’d rather redecorate and I’ve found the perfect inspiration;Apartment therapy presents real homes, real people, hundreds of real design solutions, a funky and stylish mixture of rented and owned flats accross America.

Most of the apartments are on the compact side and present significant spacial and aesthetic challenges. Many of the home decorators also admit to having more dash than cash forcing some cunning shopping and innovative solutions. The “real people” owners use flea market vintage and quirky collections, such as kewpie dolls, metal wrenches(!) and street signs to add that little “je ne sais pas” to the mix. I particularly loved a wall covered entirely with post-it notes. This is a fantastic and achievable source book for anyone drawn to the cheap, cheerful or kitsch in interior decoration.