Spirit hoods and Butterick patterns inspire Shag's latest paintings
Although still firmly rooted in the Mid-Century bachelor bacchanalia he's known for, the latest batch of paintings by Josh "Shag" Agle also manages to mine a trend we've noticed over the last few seasons -- animal prints and curious pieces of hipster-meets-wildlife headgear, like those made by SpiritHoods.
In the paintings, which are part of a new solo show, "Animal Kingdom," that opens Saturday at the Corey Helford Gallery in Culver City, gamine gals can be found lounging about in all manner of feline finery, or playing cat-and-mouse with an assortment of well-dressed fellows sporting antlers or horsing around in equine costumes.
"I'd started noticing the hoodies and the knit caps with the ears not last year but the year before," Shag told All The Rage recently. "And I thought they were cute, but then I came across some of those old Butterick patterns at the Long Beach Veterans [Stadium] flea market -– and there was one in particular that was for making kids’ and adults' animal costumes. There were different patterns for ears and tails so depending on what fabric you used you could change the costume."
"I've been painting women dressed as cats and things like that for years, but I liked the idea of painting people in costumes to sort of represent their persona, and that was the germ behind the idea for this group of paintings."
Agle said there will be 15 new paintings as well as some rare prints "and a few other things" at the upcoming show. He also filled us in on the details of the 2010 accident that landed him in the hospital and temporarily sidelined his career.
"In late 2010, I fell through a big, giant plate glass window at my house -- like the ones in my paintings, I have huge floor-to-ceiling walls of glass in my house -- I'd gotten back from a trip to the U.K. at about 3 a.m. and stupidly thought I wouldn't go to bed and [would] just start working, even though I'd been up for almost 48 hours. I started feeling lightheaded and that's the last thing I remember before waking up in intensive care in the hospital."
Agle says the resulting injuries forced him to stop painting for a while. "I couldn't even really hold a paintbrush," he said. "So I took most of 2011 off; I didn't paint for a few months or do any shows."
A little over a year later, he says he's back at it. "I have some scars and a little bit of nerve damage in my shoulder, but for the most part I’m recovered. ... I love to work. I’m a workaholic."
In the meantime, any cool cats and hipster kitties prowling for a Shag fix would do well to bust out their best spirit hood and shake a tail feather over to the Culver City gallery
Shag's "Animal Kingdom," Feb. 11 to March 7, Corey Helford Gallery, 8533 Washington Blvd., Culver City.
-- Adam Tschorn
Photo: "The Cat Carrier" is one of the 15 Shag paintings set to appear in the artist's upcoming solo show. Credit: Corey Helford Gallery