I’ve just returned from a short vacation in Palm Springs, where you’re simply inundated with SHAG’s aesthetic: midcentury-modern architecture, bright colors, kitsch, retro interiors. And that’s not counting the SHAG gallery/store, from which you can buy prints, dresses, purses and paintings by the artist himself. Now, the OC-bred artist has come back home with the upcoming launch of his new collaboration with Harveys and Disney, and he’ll be celebrating the release of the collection this Saturday at Downtown Disney’s WonderGround Gallery.
Known for his colorful paintings that combine 1950s and ’60s advertising, Tiki, Exotica, beatniks, Googie, and other nostalgic tastes, Josh Agle (a.k.a. SHAG) was one of the biggest artists to emerge from SoCal’s lowbrow art movement of the ’90s, with his ultra-cool party scenes featuring martini-chugging hipsters and swinging urbanites. At their best, they were a marriage of Saul Bass and Playboy After Dark, although many reviewers noted a dark undertone in his tableau vivants. “I almost always try to paint a story . . . something that’s happening, often sinister, and usually a bit mysterious,” Agle told the U.K.-based Modculture in 2012. Gotta admit, no one makes sinister look cooler than SHAG.
The new collection is a tribute to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Called “A Wretched Hive,” it presents the famous Mos Eisley cantina scene featuring Luke, Obi-Wan, R2 and the others in a SHAG-style nightclub setting (with Han Solo and Greedo’s meeting off to the side—wonder who Agle believes shot first?). Agle’s new artwork comes to life on Harveys Medium Streamline Tote, Hip Pack and Billfold wallets, and it will be available on other select items such as T-shirts, glasses, post cards, phone cases, magnet sets, deluxe-sized prints and more.
Agle will be there at Saturday’s launch, along with Dana and Melanie Harvey. You can buy the limited-edition merchandise in store starting at 8 a.m., then get your products signed and certified SHAG-adelic at Agle’s afternoon appearance.
Harveys x SHAG Star Wars release at WonderGround Gallery, 1580 S. Disneyland Dr., Anaheim; disneyparksmerchandise.com/events. Sat., 3 p.m.