Meeting my artistic idol has been on my bucket list for a long time. And fate was on my side one hot evening in July after a busy art fair…
But, let’s back up. In the early 2000’s, I was still shooting film and my artwork was less refined. At that time, my photos featured old cars, hood ornaments, sock monkeys and (of course) the occasional Barbie.
Kip and I decided to head over to an opening at the tragically hip, now defunct, Ox Op Gallery in downtown Minneapolis. The exhibit featured an artist that I hadn’t heard of, but soon after would consider one of my idols: Josh Agle, better known as Shag.
“Shag is a painter, designer and illustrator working in Southern California. His distinctive artistic style draws from commercial illustration from the past five decades, but the work is imbued with an attitude and sly sense of humor which is unmistakably of our time. Solo exhibitions of Shag’s work have been held in the United States, Europe, Japan, Australia and South America.” – shag.com
Now, I had been to many, many art openings, galleries and museums before this particular exhibit, but this was the first time I’d been to a show that featured “lowbrow” artwork. Not only that, it was PACKED and EVERY SINGLE PIECE WAS SOLD!!! I had no idea that work that was fun and quirky could still be taken seriously and was highly collectable. It was the first time that I realized that I COULD make fun art and still be an “artist.” Honestly, this experience completely changed my mindset: Suddenly the prospect of being a professional artist seemed like a possibility, not just a dream.
Fast forward to the summer of 2018. Shag was making a rare Minnesota visit to a Tiki inspired bash at Grumpy’s in Roseville (music, tiki drinks, etc). And, just my luck, it was the same weekend as the Loring Park Art Fair (insert sarcasm). Not to be deterred, I bought tickets and decided to head over after a very long day of selling. I don’t think I’ve ever “closed up” my booth for the evening faster. Kip quick picked me up and we drove over to the event. I was a sweaty mess, but there was NO way I was passing up the opportunity to meet someone who I credit so much to.
Once inside, I (not so patiently) waited for Shag to finish chatting with other guests. Then I finally had my chance: I gushed my story, gave him one of my photos, a hug, and got a photo taken. I totally fan-girled, and I’m sure I was obnoxious, but he was so gracious. It was an encounter that meant so much to me, if only to thank an artist that showed me that my dream could be my reality.