Shag Fans Celebrate Modernism Week With Tiki Talk

There is a store on North Palm Canyon Drive that attracts passers-by with its large metal sign. Inside, the curious will find a sea of ​​green, orange, and purple amidst scenes depicting lush mid-century modern living. Welcome to Shag, one of the trendiest places in Palm Springs.

The artist behind this store is Shag, real name: Josh Agle. On Sunday, he hosted A Very Cool Shag Experience, a love letter to all things that inspire him, for Modernism Week 2022.

The event, held at the Annenberg Theater, offered insight into the artist’s personal story. During the talk, Agle explained how he became an artist and what inspired him to create Shag.

Originally from California, he moved to Hawaii when he was six months old with his parents and younger brother. There he found inspiration for his life’s work: the exaggerated tourist maps of the Hawaiian Islands he holds dear. Maps in which scale is non-existent and large graphics abound.

He then designed such a map for the 50th anniversary of Disneyland. He remembers a water tower dressed to look like a huge pineapple at the Dole cannery near his home. house and the lush green of the foliage outside the window of his family’s apartment.

“My very first childhood memory, and I still remember it, is basically the color green. You’ll see a lot of my work influenced by that color,” Agle said at the event.

Of course, the Tiki statues found throughout the Hawaiian Islands also left a huge impression on Agle. His memories of such images became the basis of all his art.

Artist Josh Agle, aka Shag, signs artwork for fans on February 20, 2022 at the Annenberg Theater during his Modernism Week event.

Oh, and at least we forget the movie “You only Live Twice”.

“It was like my entry into the adult world,” he said. “So I thought that’s what adults do. That’s how they live. James Bond, that’s what an adult does.”

His favorite part of the movie was the villain’s lair.

“They have the best architect,” he said. “The architecture and interior design of these places is always fantastic, so supervillains also play a big role in my art.”

As an artist, Agle chose to incorporate the Polynesian influences of his youth into the mid-century modern aesthetic of classic villain haunts and album covers from the 1950s and 1960s. This style was coined” Tiki Modern”.

The final piece of Agle’s puzzle comes from the fact that he was raised as a Mormon and eventually left the religion. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prohibits alcohol, smoking, and premarital sex, which he now explores in his art. “Just like seeing the James Bond movie. It was the lure of the forbidden.”

After Agle started a band in the 1980s with friends, he was commissioned to design and execute the band’s flyers, and eventually the band’s debut album cover. The album, Agle said, became the very first manifestation of what would become Shag’s style. Thanks to this album cover, he got noticed by other bands who wanted him to do something for them. Record labels began to take notice and began hiring Agle to work with their artists.

After graduating from college in 1993, Agle met other Tiki artists. Thanks to them, he got his first art exhibition. Thinking that no one would buy the art he loved to make, he painted five canvases that he knew would end up on the walls of his apartment. These are the first paints that Agle considered to be Shag paints. To his surprise, they all sold out.

Josh Agle, the artist behind

One of these first five paintings sold for $200. Ten years later, the collector who had paid $200 for the effort sold this painting for $10,000. The name Shag was born from there. Disney has now hired him for several projects as well as Playboy, Coca-Cola and The Pink Panther. In 2002, the Palm Springs Preservation Society approached Shag to do some parts for a show called “Desert Polynesia”, a perfect fit. He began to use the architecture found in Palm Springs in his work, and a staple of Palm Springs art was born.

A few years later, the idea of ​​his own gallery in Palm Springs was launched.

“I don’t want to do a Shag gallery,” he said. noted. “I want to do a Shag store, because people are afraid to walk into a gallery, but no one is afraid to walk into a store.”

The store has since become a downtown destination. Agle is currently working on a Shag House which will be available for touring during Modernism Week 2023.

Her own home at the Royal Hawaiian Estates is decorated in the distinctive Shag style. He even designed wallpaper for the house, which his wife calls her own “Barbie Dream House.”

On Sunday, guests from around the world descended on Agle’s boutique to celebrate Shag’s connection to Modernism Week: the signature poster he designs for the event each year.

Fans line up for the artist known as Shag to sign his work on February 20, 2022, outside the Annenberg Theater during its Modernism Week event.

Participants Britney Stanley and Lonni Banducci traveled from San Diego and Northern California for the affair. Stanley is an interior designer and Banducci is renovating his grandfather’s house.

“The house is in its original 1960s condition. It has lots of mid-century features [modern] furniture,” Banducci said.

When Stanley found out about the event, she said she had to come.

“I’m a huge Shag fan, and I live in San Diego where Tiki never dies,” she said. “My boyfriend and I just bought a house. We’re setting up a Tiki bar and living the lifestyle. The house is all bright colors and tropical bird wallpaper.”

Stanley said learning about Shag’s history and where his influences come from was one of the most fun parts of the event.

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