Josh, you are my hero! I am so excited you're here! Have you always been "Shag?"
The Shag name started in about 1987 when I decided to sign that on my paintings. It was a shortened contraction of my first and last name (Josh Agle). I never really intended to be called Shag, but that's sort of what happened; now almost everyone calls me by that name.
Did your current style of painting develop gradually, or have you always painted and illustrated in your current "Swingers-Tiki-Cocktail'ish style?
When I was a commercial illustrator in the late '80s and early '90s I worked in a lot of styles, including the "Shag" style. That style, which is based on commercial illustration from the '50s and '60s, was always nearest and dearest to my heart -- it also best reflected my own interests and hobbies (tikis, cocktail lounges, old records, instrumental music).
I can only imagine what your house looks like... have you decorated it like you paint?
The style of the paintings is really more an outgrowth of the things I was already interested in; I was collecting '50s modern furniture and tiki stuff before I started putting those things in my paintings. It was just logical that I would paint the things I loved. When I was able to afford to buy a house, it took me and my wife a long time to find one which reflected the vision we had about what a house should look like.
Ahh, so there is a Mrs. Shag and little shaglettes? Any cool kittys?
I have a wife and a 3 year old daughter, plus another one on the way. I'm sure it will be a girl, too, as I have an instinctive feeling about these things and I've not yet been wrong when I've guessed the sex of a baby-to-be. I have a terrier named Baxter, and until recently my wife had a cat named Petey, but he got old an passed on to kitty heaven...
Yikes! I wish we could be sitting down together and doing this interview... listening to a little "mambo" or something in the background. What kind of music do you listen to?
Right now I listen to a lot of DJ versions of exotica and lounge, like Dimitre from Paris and the Karminsky Experience. They take old lounge records and sample and loop them to make them more modern. It seems like a way to hear a lot of old records in a really fresh and exciting way.
What were you like growing up? Did you always know you wanted to be an artist?
I always felt that I was a pretty good artist, but there was a period of self-doubt which caused me to take a couple years of accounting classes at my University, until I came to my senses and switched over to an art major.
ok, couple more questions... I promise. Do you use a computer in your work?
I don't use a computer in the actual gallery paintings -- it's all done by hand the old fashioned way. But when a painting (or part of a painting) is taken for another purpose (a sticker, t-shirt or limited edition print) I use the computer to convert the art to a format which is more mass-production friendly.
hey, do you smoke Josh? Do you relate to any of the characters that you paint?
I smoke one cigarette a year; it's a way to revisit a vice and remind myself why I don't do it. I'm much more apt to have a cocktail in my hand, though. I relate to all the characters in my paintings! I think they all contain a little bit of my personality.
Finally, what do you do for fun? How do you relax?
The only way I can relax is to go away on vacation and not bring a cell phone or leave a forwarding number, not bring any paints or art supplies, and not bring a laptop for e-mail. This winter I went up to a small lodge in the mountains that didn't have a phone -- it was great! I'm in the fortunate (or unfortunate) position where my favorite hobby is also my profession, so it's hard to stop and do something else unless I'm physically away from my studio!
Thank you so much Josh! I really appreciate you taking the time to do this with me.