Living as a Mod in the 21st Century

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Enter The World of Shag

Tikis might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a Mod Mod world.  But add some jazz, spies, Super Villains, slim ties, a space age décor, mid-century modern furniture, vixens wearing sleek dresses sipping cocktails in lounges and you are not to far from the mark. What do the tiki lounge scene and the 21st century Mod scene have in common? It’s all about being cool.

This is exactly what transpires in every piece of art that Josh Agle aka Shag creates. Picture mythological type creatures that mingle over martinis with ultra suave, suit wearing, dark shades at night sporting debonair gents in a Jestons like universe. Have me a Vespa GS parked in the background and you have my definition of nirvana.

I have been dreaming for a long time of having my very own Shag serigraph. Not necessarily accessible to a teacher’s salary, I had to settle for a few of Shag’s books depicting part of his collection. Last Christmas, my wife gave me bunch of them, including this one.

The author, a Shag fan turned business partner, writes in detail about Shag’s creative path and his choice of using serigraphy as his medium. It might be a painstakingly long and costly process but the results are stunning and are miles ahead the more widespread giclé prints.

Serigraphy involves laying each color individually over a silkscreen. The more colors you use, the more complicated and time consuming the process is. The arduous task is well worth it because the results are stunning. The colors are more vibrant and at the same time, the scene has more depth. I never thought I could tell the difference but I’ve been converted.

A few of months ago, local retro shop Kitchy-Koo, managed to put their hands on a Shag limited edition original. It was on commission from a collector from Ottawa and the price was too good to let slip through. Plus, my five year anniversary with my girlfriend was soon coming up.

I’ve started collecting art when I graduated university. I put a down payment on my first painting then and my parents eventually paid the balance as a graduation present. My goal has been since to replace every college dorm laminated poster with an original piece of art. I think I’m well on the way of attaining that goal because I’m starting to run out of wall space. I tend to gravitate towards very colorful pieces of Pop Art, so it’s no wonder why Shag caught my eye.

The 2004 piece entitled Acquisition Strategy now rests on our office wall. Number 185 of 300, this work of art has it all: Mad Men type characters, a mid-century decor with a huge Tiki mask on the wall and striking colors. The fact that it came in a fake bamboo frame is a welcomed bonus.

You can tell that Shag is scooterist friendly when he did the poster for the 2002 Amerivespa rally.
Will this be the start of a new collection? Only time will tell. In the meantime, drop the needle on some Jimmy Smith, pull out your shaker, a martini glass and poor yourself a stiff one. To get you started, here's a cocktail recipe from Shag's book Shag Party.

Blue Shark
1 1/2 ounces tequila
1 1/2 ounces vodka
1 1/2 ounces blue Curaçao
Old Fashioned glass; shake with ice, strain over ice.
* The Parka Avenue version:
shake with ice,
pour into a large martini glass (it looks swankier)
and add a maraschino cherry.


  1. Ah, nice one! Over the years, I've liked Shag and all, but it was my wife who really turned me on to him. She's a HUGE fan and one of our first kinda dates was to one of his exhibitions in LA. Thanks to her, we own a few prints. She also got her sister and brother-in-law into him and they have a nice collection. My fave is the one hanging in our living room (a wedding present from her sister): West Coast Jazz (

    I'm on the hunt for prints by Chris Reccardi and Lord Dunsby, myself!

    1. Well, one thing's for sure. Your wife has great taste! (and her sister too!)

      That print is sharp! The turntable reminds me of my Electrohome (a Canadian design!) as seen here.

      I'll have to check out Chris Reccardi and Lord Dunsby. Knowing your discerning eye, I have a feeling they are worth investigating.

  2. OK... SHAG party at Curd Rally Friday night?

  3. Pretty sure he has a dedicated shop in Palm Springs.
    Maryanne and I went there on our Honeymoon.
    That place is the mid century modern mecca.

  4. I too am a SHAG(Josh Agle) fan- resisting the urge to make gauge remark, must move on, must stop, must...Anyway, the local framing gallery is one of the few places in Australia to have genuine prints available. They cost a few bob but as stated by Patrick, worth it. I think the gallery owners have noticed I have been stalking the place. I try to use the kids as an excuse but, I think they are starting to see through this.Take care, Ozy Pete