Remove this ad


Apr 25 09 3:22 PM

Tags : :

It is often said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.   Patrick Nagel would have been very flattered indeed to see the number and quality of artists who have adopted his style at one time or another. 

The list of such artists could stretch this topic out for several pages.

Undoubtedly, the professional artist who most closely worked in Nagel’s style was Luis Preciado. Preciado was just out of art school when he was snatched by Mirage Editions (and the infamous Karl Bornstein) to create art in the Nagel style. Here are some examples of his work:




Preciado painted these works in the mid to late 80s to fill the void left after Pat’s untimely death.

Some of his originals are being sold on ebay for a modest amount. In fairness to Preciado, his work is of good quality, and the originals are striking in person. (Also, the dealer who is selling original Preciados on Ebay packs them very well for shipment.)

Quote    Reply   
Remove this ad
Remove this ad

#2 [url]

May 17 09 4:56 PM

Another painter who did a lot of pin-ups and worked in a similar style was Robert Blue. Blue died around 1998 from cancer.

As I recall, Blue's work changed over time, and it is not clear in my mind if he suggested the direction that Nagel would later pick up.

Quote    Reply   

#3 [url]

Jun 5 09 1:58 PM

The artist that Karl Bornstein (Mirage Editions) promoted after Pat's death was Dennis Mukai. I don't recall Luis Preciado ever being represented by Mirage. Preciado's publisher, Jim Ebbert, was mainly distributing Luis' work through The San Francisco Art Exchange and their sister gallery The Penisula Art Exchange during the mid to late 80's.

Quote    Reply   

#4 [url]

Jun 5 09 2:10 PM

Robert Blue started out painting fetish images of Bettie Page in the late 70's. He adopted a very Nagelesque style after Pat's death in an attempt to "cash in" on the Nagel frenzy. Robert Blue eventually stopped producing work in this style and began painting images of western landscapes and cowboys.

Quote    Reply   

#6 [url]

Jun 7 09 10:15 AM


Welcome!  Your avatar is one of my favorite Nagel works!  It is interesting to note how many skilled artists followed in Patrick Nagel's style.  Preciado, Leal, and Blue worked in differnt styles before and after the Nagel-look became popular.  In the case of Preciado and Leal, they went in different directions, and I often wonder if they were haunted by their decisions to follow so closely on Pat's heels.  I would think that the art buying public would wonder if a contemporary Preciado was truly from Preciado's heart or if he was simply being asked to imitate a popular style.

Of all of the imitators, Blue and Mukai did the best commercially afterwards.  Dennis Mukai became a noted photographer for many years, and only in the last few years has ventured back into the fine art market with a radically different style of art. 

Quote    Reply   

#7 [url]

Jun 24 09 11:44 PM

Some biographical information on Luis Preciado:

Luis Preciado was born November 5th, 1959, at Hermosillo in Sonora Mexico.

His devoted interest in art did not really develop until the age of five, when his family moves to Nogales Arizona where his father is employed with the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service and Luis was exposed to a wider variety of art.

Luis attended A.J. Mitchell Elementary and Nogales High School in Nogales Arizona, but really did not flourish as an artist until at the age of 18 when he received his U.S. Citizenship and at 19 attended the University of San Diego, a private Catholic University where he earned his B.A. in Fine Art.

Preciado's emphasis while in college was primarily on the human form. Luis says, "The human figure can be expressed in countless ways but, I prefer a simplistic, linear graphic style because I personally feel sometimes less is more. Basically what I'm doing is leaving things up to the power of suggestion".

When asked what artists have most influenced him, Luis replies, "There are numerous artists but, some of the most influential are, Degas, Picasso, Toulouse Lautrec, Jan Vanriet, Lichtenstein, Jackson Pollock, Beardsley, Mucha and Alex Katz".

Luis combined his influence of these artists to create his own style which he describes as, "Post Art Deco Graphic".

Luis resides in a small beach community in Southern California where he continues to draw and paint his unique style of art.

Quote    Reply   
Quote    Reply   

#9 [url]

Jun 18 10 9:25 PM

Interesting article from "Art in America" magazine:



From the Tanning Bed: Barb Choit

Barb Choit is a New York-based artist who experiments with the tonal range of film and the process of photography to present the medium itself as her subject. The title of Choit's first solo show in New York, Nagel Fades, which describes the general look. The artist has re-photographed 12 works by Patrick Nagel, the artist whose slick signature fine art posters became the face of a decadent, Miami-inspired era—and in the meantime blurred the still very touchy division of art and illustration.

Barb Choit, "Patrick Nagel, 'Swimmers,' Fine Art Poster, Diluted Bleach Bath, UV Exposure Time Four Weeks," 2009. Courtesy Rachel Uffner Gallery.

Before re-photographing the Nagel posters, Choit corroded their crisp quality with UV light from the artist's own tanning bed, and sometimes bleach, thus infusing them with time and wear, not to mention a certain Miami flare. Choit's resulting prints are still luminous, while echoing the lived-in context of beauty parlors and tanning salons where she first encountered Nadel's idiom.

JON LEON: The photographs in the show are based on fine art prints by Patrick Nagel. What drew you to work with these materials and how did you come by them?

BARB CHOIT: I bought the posters on eBay. Patrick Nagel I came to in a weird way. First of all, I wanted to somehow remake Dennis Oppenheim's Reading Position for Second Degree Burn, in so much as he used UV light as a photographic material, and his skin as a photographic material.

LEON: Can you describe the process you used in this series and your impetus for this project?

CHOIT: I was thinking about the interaction of UV light on readymade objects, whether it's your skin or whatever it is, as a photographic process and a way to make photographs. I knew the Patrick Nagel prints mostly from seeing them in hair salons, where they're always faded. I liked the way that Dennis Oppenheim titled his Reading Position for Second Degree Burn. His medium is Jones Beach for five hours-an exposure time of five hours. He later sells it as a document, a print of him completing this activity. The entire medium wasn't just photosensitive material with visible light, or UV light interacting with the material. The whole beach acts as an apparatus, which encompasses lying there, reading a book and putting it on your chest, then falling asleep.

LEON: When you say "apparatus" are you referring to the ubiquitous presence of raw materials and props used to create an aesthetic experience?

CHOIT: When I say apparatus I'm thinking about the situation that creates the work as a total encompassing medium. It stems from the idea of a cinematic apparatus, an idea important to structural film, where the medium of cinema is not just the camera and the film, but the camera, the film, the projector, light, the screen, the space between the camera and the screen, the audience, and so on. I'm thinking about an expansion of the components we think of that make up a medium.

LEON: How do the Nagel prints and your rendition of them correlate with this process?

CHOIT: The Nagel prints led me to think about the components of a hair salon as an aesthetic apparatus. The Nagel prints and UV tanning beds are both part of this apparatus. Here there's a different relationship to the body. Oppenheim uses his actual body and in remaking the piece, sort of doing it within the realm of images.

LEON: Why re-photograph the posters?

CHOIT: I like to keep the actual prints as originals that I continue to do this process in increments. I see it as an ongoing destruction of the objects and you get to see the process of photography. Now I start to see the actual prints themselves as kind of like the negatives, and those are what I keep changing and documenting.

LEON: Do you think that there's another dimension to the work, outside of the conceptual derivative you mentioned, suggesting a corrosion of beauty generally while trying to master it? I'm thinking of the cosmetic intention of the settings in which you originally discovered these images.

CHOIT: I think that's one dimension. I think also that there is another dimension in that the posters I'm buying are quote-unquote fine art posters, so I'm also in a sense replicating the conditions of a work of art in the gallery. These prints themselves, just as objects anywhere, start to fade. That's kind of what inspired the whole thing. I did some research about visible light and fading and found that all visible light, even incandescent bulbs or fluorescent lights, which are being used in all the galleries, will fade things. So that's this interesting thing that happens. In order to be visible, or to be illuminated by light and thus be visible, there has to be a certain destruction that occurs.

Nagel Fades is on view through December 20. Rachel Uffner Gallery is located at 47 Orchard Street.

Quote    Reply   

#10 [url]

Jun 19 10 12:14 PM

The information is completely wrong. Preciado was never published by Mirage - he may have been signed but only to remove him from the market as his work was a complete ripoff of Nagel. As both a student and friend, Mukai was the only true predecessor and was published and promoted by both Mirage and Playboy after Nagel's passing.

Quote    Reply   
Remove this ad

#11 [url]

Jun 19 10 12:17 PM

The information is completely wrong. Preciado was never published by Mirage - he may have been signed but only to remove him from the market as his work was a complete ripoff of Nagel. As both a student and friend, Mukai was the only true predecessor and was published and promoted by both Mirage and Playboy after Nagel's passing.

Quote    Reply   

#12 [url]

Jun 20 10 2:34 PM

The information is completely wrong. Preciado was never published by Mirage - he may have been signed but only to remove him from the market as his work was a complete ripoff of Nagel. As both a student and friend, Mukai was the only true predecessor and was published and promoted by both Mirage and Playboy after Nagel's passing.



Do you know who printed Preciado's work?  I have been told that Mirage was his publisher, but I would agree that my source may be faulty.

I would also agree that Luis Preciado worked too closely in the Nagel style for his own good.  He did have a website up of his work some time ago, and his artwork did show significant stylistic change over the years.  A very talented artist, but one who may not have ever found his stylistic "voice" in the art world.

Thank you for contributing.


Quote    Reply   

#13 [url]

Jun 23 10 8:42 PM

Luis Preciado was never represented by Mirage. Jim Ebbert, the owner of Gallery Publishing in Coronado, was Luis' publisher and business manager during the mid to late 80's. Jim mainly distributed Luis' work through Penisula Art Exchange in San Mateo and it's sister gallery San Francisco Art Exchange. It was Jim that convinced Luis to modify his style, encouraging him to create images in a more "Nagelesque" style.

(Gallery Publishing and Penisula Art Exchange both went out of business in the late 90's) 

Quote    Reply   

#14 [url]

Nov 16 10 6:10 PM

I noticed this blog a couple of years ago, and I find it so amusing, how many opinions there are, and comments based on so little information. Although I do aplaude the zeal in which many continue a love for everything nagel. He certainly captivated my imagination. My name is Steve Leal. I was born in 1962 in Venice California. My parents were immigrants from sinaloa mexico. My father was quite artistic, as were so many in my family. My first encounter with a nagel image , was when I was 13. As I was going through the pages of my brothers Playboy magazine ( reading of course) I came across a striking image in the after hours section. It was an illustration by nagel. Up until that time I was extremely interested in fashion design. I had been drawing for friends as long as I could remember. A day didn't go by that I didn't draw, design, paint. But when I saw patricks work, I didnt see it as art or even something to emulate. In my mind I thought " with these simple lines, it could serve as the framework for my fashion designs. Soon I was drawing from memory anything I could remember from his images, the few that I saw. I didnt see many because I didnt know anything about the art business. I didnt know to go to a gallery, or to research him, or even, that someone who draws for magazines, does posters as well. I was very naive. I just kept painting with that white plain skin But much more elaborate costumes. By the time I was 15 I had created the first pieces that would be published later, when I turned 21. When I turned 17 My cousin told me that my images reminded her of patrick nagel. I, in my ignorant state, was surprised she new who he was. She proceeded to tell me about gallery michael in century city mall. I couldn't wait. Few days later I was with a group of friends, when i suggested to them that we go to gallery michael to see patricks work. Well , here we are, a group of stoned teenagers from the valley (which by then, is were my family moved to) When we arrived there was an art opening for another artist going on. My friends said "we cant go in there!" You must also remember that in the 80's these openings could be quite pretentious and intimidating. I didnt care, I convinced them to go in with me. The first gallery snob i saw , I asked him if he could show us some nagels. When I look back, that was kinda bold for a kid. Nevertheless . The man took us to the back and opened some flat files. They were silkscreens of nagels work. All I could do was smile. At that moment my friends gasped and quietly whispered " It looks like your work steve" another said "he's copying you" I quickly, with a sense of  reverance overcoming me, I simply said " No, Im copying him"
                      I didnt know what to think anymore. I wanted to have my own style, and I knew that artist didnt peak until they were 40 or 50 years old. I decided I should go to art school, but a teacher from the pasadena art school thought I had enough talent, and didnt need it. although flattering, not to sure it was the best advice. I decided to go to FIDM to study fashion design. As the art deco look started becoming more popular, And the poster business was flourishing with artist like brian davis,yamagata etc. I thought maybe I could do that. At the age of 20 I had a show at a small art gallery. Non profit. Very small. But I was being aproached by several people about publishing. At 21 I signed a contract to be published. I didnt think it would go far.But the nagel market and that look went on. I tried to continue growing my own style,and I knew that would take time. In the mean time I got swept away in what was going on in the market. And enjoyed it. The 80's was a time when everyone was so label and name conscience. As YSL put it "people know more about names then they do about design."  My first pieces I did , I didnt use models, I created them, thats why the have a more animated look. When I learned how illustrators,as well as nagel used the camera and superimposed photos. I thought that was cheating.(hey, I was still 21,22) I soon began using models. What a difference. When I hear people say that LEAL had the smarts to capatilize on the nagel train, it makes me laugh. I wish I had the smarts, I would've made hell of alot more money. It is said that all artist work looks like another artist work at first. Until they develop it into their own style. I never set out like other emulators to capatalize on the look . I simply got caught up in the trend. I was inspired by someone I had no idea would become the trend of the 80's. I did at one point toward the end do some pieces intentionally to look like a nagel as close as, not image. Because I was so fed up by the dishonesty in the business.The desire of certain ones trying to sabotage. AAAHHH!  the stories I could tell . I had a good time. But it also taught me, alot about greed and the people in this business. this is why I got out of the business. But I have always continued to paint. I am going to be showing soon in LA And looking foward to it. I felt like writing. Its just curious the things said here on this site . If you want to know anything just

Quote    Reply   

#15 [url]

Nov 16 10 8:05 PM

Welcome Steve,

I am glad you joined us! As you are well aware, you are one of a handful of artists whose works have been compared to Nagel.

I am not surprised by your fashion background. While Pat’s work did not appear in fashion periodicals, he certainly had an influence on the fashions of his period. I know that he was a friendly acquaintance of George Stavrinos (whose graphite images were the hallmark of Barney’s in New York), and I am sure that he had, at the very least, a nodding acquaintance with Tony Viramontes, Antonio Vargas, and other fashion artists of that time.

What I think you have written here is remarkable. You have come up in discussions elsewhere and obviously on this thread. However, no one really has any substantive information as to your background. I did learn from a source that you were self-taught and very young when you did this work. I did not know how accurate my source was, but apparently he was pretty accurate. Twenty-one is very young for an artist to grab the attention of major galleries in Beverly Hills.

I recall that popular art in the 80s seemed fashion-driven. While one might say that its downfall was that it became too identified with the decade – and in the case of Nagel, too popular – a more sophisticated examination of the issue would note that the most popular of these artist were dead by the arrival of the 90s. Nagel was dead from a heart attack. Stavrinos, Viramontes, and Vargas had succumbed to AIDS.

As for your work, my favorite by far is "Adam."  I could bend your ear for a long time, but I would love to hear about this particular piece.   Thank you for your post!

Quote    Reply   

#16 [url]

Nov 17 10 12:16 PM

thank you for your response, When I did this piece, at the time I thought that nagels men wer'e not great( an opinion) I wanted to create a piece that i thought the style was lacking.  strong male prescence. This young man happened to be my neighbor at the time. I had him pose for me for many male images. This piece was also an affront to the nagel look. If i wanted, I could copy the style (nagelish) to the t. So I went as close as possible , but adding a bit softer and some fashion sense. This piece was an affront, because the nagel political party was doing everything possible to sabotage what I was genuinely inspired by. As I said earlier , the dishonesty and practices within this business ere baffling for a young man , i understand business, but it was dealt with  great arrogance . As a matter of fact karl bornstien accused me ,while I sat there in his   office, that I copied a nagel for this piece. I clearly stated to him that I can produce the model and pictures. He didnt like that. I may have been young, but I wasnt stupid. So with the constant  battle with the powers to be, I said ,there! You want me to stop doing what I love, here! and i produced ADAM the most nagelish piece. His look says it all. And its interesting that most nagel collectors have this piece. It was a big seller
                                         In 1990 I produced 90 paintings for the american music awards , I did these in 3 months. And even then , the nagel party tried sabotage that. but dick clark and the producers, said to them , no, we are using steve leal. love it.

Quote    Reply   

#18 [url]

Nov 17 10 3:35 PM


Very interesting. I don’t know if you are aware, but Karl was getting more withdrawn from the world – and by most accounts – more shady in his business after Pat died. He was not a rational man. While I and others can see the Nagel influence in your work, I can also see the influence of Erte and Coles Phillips as well. You definitely were not knocking off Nagel.

You, Pat, and the other fashion artists of the time seemed to be looking to the Nouveau and Deco period. At one time I tended to agree with those who believed that Pat was inspired by Asian art. I figured time fighting in Vietnam introduced him to Asian aesthetics. I have since changed my opinion after looking at his works and the works of poster artists from the turn of the last century. He was looking principally to French poster art, not Japanese woodblock prints.

Your opinions about Pat’s men are shared by many. I am not one of them insofar as I like the fact that the male images tend to be sensual without being overtly sexual as so many of the Playboy-inspired women tend to be. Other than "Adam," did you release any other prints depicting male subjects?

In "Adam," I like the unexpected paisley design running through his suspender and belt. It breaks up the solid color nicely. Not something Nagel would have done, but something Leal could do.

Pat was serigraphs were principally printed by Wasserman Silkscreen and Samper Silkscreen. Where did you have your prints printed? Could you give us an idea as to how many artists proofs and printers proofs would have been printed for each edition you created?

Oh, and one other question about "Adam:"  A certain gallery owner who worked in Beverly Hills informed me that he believes that he has the original painting upon which Adam was printed.  True?

Many thanks!

Quote    Reply   

#19 [url]

Nov 17 10 7:25 PM

I dont know who ended up with the original. My own publisher would sell originals behind my back. It was a constant battle.I once saw on ebay someone trying to sell the original adam, but It was obvious that it was not, they took it down. you are sooo right when you say erte played a big part in  influencing me. The man was amazing. but people like alma tadema/ maxfield parrish , mucha, all these were influences yes even japanese woodblock, still love it to this day. there are soo many parallels with many things that happened to me that nagel as well shared. My father was a gardener in the beverly hills area, and one of his clients was barbara carrera.....and i wanted to paint her, and she was willing , and just about the same time I was listening to the radio and it was an interview with pat....and he was saying how the next woman he wanted to paint was barbara, talk about coincidence, There were many things like that . and I believe that when you are an artist who paints women, there is a truth in its intinctual execution.
for example dennis mukai, unbelievable graphic illustrator, loved his commercial graphics. But when I first saw his women pieces, I new right away "this guy doesnt want to paint this subject matter" the execution was perfect, but the understanding of the subject was not. otherwise he would still be painting that subject. It was obvious it was a moneymaking venture, which in itself is not a bad thing. It was me, I still wasnt gettin it, I wanted truth to what I love doing. hey im going on and on here, sorry. I created many male pieces. Never printed any others. I was extremely prolific. I must have done about 500 paintings and drawings. many of them stored by my publisher at the time. If you go to youtube  and look for steve leal an old video comes up of some of my old work, i believe it has some more male images. Cole phillips? I had never heard of him, i googled him. I like it alot.......bit of leyendecker as well. I think I might have a couple original  male images left. not sure. I have never wrote about myself nor have I ever wrote on a blog, but I think its time. I start jotting things down. Ive got stories about dealing with karl....and some of the galleries he delt with.
It would be fun to write it all down. to whom am I blogging with anyway?   

Quote    Reply   

#20 [url]

Nov 17 10 7:27 PM

Oh and by the way , robert blue and brian davis printed some of my pieces , gary hinte was another and aztlan did one piece I believe. The serigraph process was beautiful

Quote    Reply   
Remove this ad
Add Reply

Quick Reply

bbcode help