Which artists do you admire?
I like artists who have clean, well-crafted work. Mark Ryden, who works in an old-masters style, but twists it into a really bent final result, is one of my favorites. I also admire artists who have developed their own distinct worldpeople like Robert Williams, Coop, etc. There are many imitating what these artists do, but thats because of the quality of the imagery they developed.
There seems to be a growing group of media inspired artists like Alan Forbes, Isabel Samaras, Emek and many others... that is being labeled "lowbrow" art yet your artistic vision is completely different from any of their works...
I really like the classic "lowbrow" look and themes, but I felt there were many artists dealing with that sort of imagery, and doing it really well. I just wanted to do something that appealed to me personally, and wasnt being done by a lot of artists. I made it a policy that I wouldnt do any concert posters, because so many other artists were doing great work with show posters. Its the same with hotrods and pin-up girls. I will occasionally paint them, but if I do, I try to do it in an unconventional way.
Do you know the Superflat movement from Japan? Its all about two dimensionality in art... and how it deals with popular icons... like compressing all layers... near and far...
I admire the Superflat stuff, although I think there are a lot of Japanese references that only a native Japanese can pick up. I really dont know much about Manga or Anime, but I like the flat areas of bright colorits a look that has always appealed to me, going back to artists like Miro and Calder.
Do you think that your art is sometimes Superflat?
While my art is flat, and pop-ish, I think Superflat also encompasses a Japanese aesthetic that my work doesnt have. It does encourage me when I see a cartoon-like art thats based on popular culture gaining acceptance in the fine art world.
You started out doing cartooning for magazines and it was your fans that asked you to start making paintings and prints... stuff they could hang in their own swinging space lounges what direction are the fans pushing you in now?
I get many requests to do comic books and animated cartoons. Im not really interested in either right now. Ive been approached by quite a few animation studios, but Im generally not doing anything until something perfect comes along.
I know it will! For even more on Shag you can check out online at Shag-art.com or Shagmart.com and his book Supersonic Swingers. Its got an in-depth interview about Shags influences and 47 full color plates of his paintings! Its a great taster spoon of an amazing artist!