Hand Pulled: The Complete Shag Print Collection

I’ve been a fan of the artist Shag (Josh Agle) for a solid decade now, so I was excited to hear that the Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana was hosting Hand Pulled: The Complete Shag Print Collection.

This retrospective features all the prints Shag has released from 1999-2011, including every serigraph, etching, giclée and off-set print—more than 250 in all.

So much Shag, as far as the eye could see! The bright colors really popped against the simple black frames and white walls.

For me it was a bit of a trip down memory lane as I got to see in person some of the images that first turned me on to Shag, like the Paul Frank partnership “Sylvie and Jules” which dates back to 2000.

The space off to the right housed Shag’s collaborations with Disney. In 2003, he was commissioned to do a series for The Enchanted Tiki Room‘s 40th anniversary and it proved so popular that he’s also produced designs for Disneyland’s 50th anniversary, Haunted Mansion’s 40th anniversary, the Disney Cruise Line and just recently, Disney World’s 40th anniversary.

Some highlights from the exhibit included this promotional poster for Madame Guignol’s Macabre Theatre on the left. So often there’s something sinister lurking in the tableau, but here it takes center stage (literally).

I also loved seeing the details in the Villain Suite, a series of four etchings from 2001. Here we have “Kitty Q” and her cohorts.

Special for this show’s opening, Shag and Harveys produced two styles of seatbelt bags that apparently sold out instantly.

Be sure to browse through the gift shop, because that’s where you’ll find this special piece. Besides being one of Shag’s earliest paintings (his 6th or 7th), “Ray’s Mistake” from 1996 pays tribute to Ray Buhen and his signature drink from the Tiki-Ti. Shag even touched up the originally gold frame to make it look more like bamboo. (You can even buy it if you have a spare sixteen grand.)

These are the last few weeks to catch the exhibit as it ends on August 14. Shag will be making an appearance and signing merchandise at the closing reception on Saturday, August 6 at 6 p.m. The gallery is located in a lovely courtyard in the Arts District, which has an Old Town feel and merits a visit on its own.

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