Artist Josh Agle

Josh Agle, also known as Shag (a contraction of the last two letters of his first name and the first two letters of his last) was born in 1962. He is a painter, illustrator and designer, currently based in Los Angeles. 

The artist Josh Agle—his nom de brosse comes from the SH in “Josh” and the “AG” in Agle—is known for his martini clutching mod characters in swanky spaces rendered in saturated colors with a distinctive mid-century style. Lithe ladies in bobs and beehives and their cool-cat men lounge on boxy sofas and egg chairs, or sip tropical drinks in bars next to zombies and skeletons while bongo drummers and guitarists play on. There’s usually a leering tiki or five; alligators, black cats, Shriners and Franz Kafka might also make an appearance.

The cartoon-like paintings are an ode to the cocktail culture of the 1950s and 1960s, done in the style (albeit over the top) of commercial art of the era. A nostalgia for the optimism and fashionable hedonism of that time is one reason for Shag’s popular appeal. But like the best art, it’s the doors in our own imaginations opened up by his work that keep viewers engaged—and coming back for more


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