shag-art.comI was just in paris and I didnt see any beret wearing frenchies… it was a real let down… but I did see some of your stickers in a punk rock shop… I thought that was pretty cool! You’re also doing tiki mugs and even lamps now - how did that come about?

The tiki mugs and lamps came about due to the hard work and persistence of Holden Westland, the director at Tiki Farm. He had approached me a couple years ago to work on projects together, but I had always sort of dragged my feet on it.

And you work with Paul Frank too?

I used to see Paul Frank (founder of Paul Frank Industries) around at clubs and bars (he lives near me). We talked about collaborating on a t-shirt or something, but I never took it too seriously. One day Greg Escalante, a big art collector and museum curator told me his nanny collected Paul Frank stuff and that he wanted to make my discussions with Paul a reality. He did the actual leg-work and put the deal together. It worked out great, because Paul Frank and I worked together directly, as opposed to me just talking to one of his art directors. He was excited enough to want to do purses, bar-stools, and wallets, instead of just t-shirts.

And then there are zippo lighters, stickers, and art on checks also!

I have the theory that every artist wants as many people as possible to see his or her work. Sometimes they get cocky and feel they’re too important to do merchandise, but not everyone can shell out $2000 or $3000 for a painting, and even a $150 print is beyond the means of many. With the merch, even a couple bucks will get you a Shag artwork.

Cool! But aren’t you starting to feel "commercial"… in the way that your images are being put onto tons of  different products, and you’re getting art reviews in magazines like Playboy.

I’ve always felt commercial, and I thought I would make my living as a commercial illustrator, as opposed to selling my art in galleries, but it’s worked out the other way. I am constantly astounded that people like the art enough to put it on products, or to feature it in magazines and television.

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