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.
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.
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.