Artist Of The Month: Josh Phagan of Mongo Arts

Custom Screen Printing:

Custom Screen Printing:

Introducing Josh Phagan! Our very first Artist Of The Month and the artist whose work we will be celebrating all December long! 🙂 Check out our in-depth interview with him about the man, husband and dad behind the art…
My name is Josh Phagan , owner of Mongo Arts a small shop in Newport, NC nestled in the cozy Croatan Forest. We specialize in silk screen printing apparel and graphic arts and also our own designs inspired by music of the grateful dead and other experimental music. 
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Mongo Arts philosophy/purpose is simply providing exceptional service to our customers while offering high quality unique products. I strive to give every client a personal and individualized experience. As a small business owner, its of utmost importance to build lasting relationships with good kind folks.  As far as my team, its family..I do 90% of the work along with one employee, my wife Jill is a big help. Part of the team of family are wonderful old friends Mark of Masterpiece graphics and Martin of Mandala graphics who are the best problem solvers and creative thinkers in the business.
We do a wide range of in-house silk screen printing, digital heat transfer, and graphic design for our own designs with online sales. Everything is printed here at our shop located on our property adjacent to our home. We stay busy with custom work for mostly repeat customers printing everything from koozies to prayer flags to hoodies and do a lot of wholesaling apparel of our own design to headshops across the country. We strive to be eco-friendly and try to support other small american business with our work.
I remember my parents at about 6 years old letting me go nuts with the acrylic paints, and I mean splattering paint everywhere, clothes, trees, my skateboard but it looked like a Jackson Pollack or Basquait piece to my eyes and was an unbelievable feeling of self-expression and they were totally cool about the mess. Both my parents are wonderful artists and musicians so that helped tremendously.
Can’t say I really have a favorite piece as I’m working on so many new ideas right now and am always striving to do something better! Part of my philosophy is to get the job done, even if I have to stay up all night. Once it’s done, I’m done with it and not everyone will like what I have created, but I know I will eventually sleep well knowing I gave it my best shot.
St. Stephen (New version) T shirt Spinning that curious sense of your own Grateful Dead Shirt

St. Stephen (New version) T-shirt Spinning that curious sense of your own Grateful Dead Shirt

What inspires me is loud, beautiful mind expanding music, staying in tune with nature out here in the beautiful Croatan forest and my sweet wife Jill. Most recently and more importantly I am a new Dad. I just had my first child Scarlet Rose 5 weeks ago and her sweet soul has put an entirely new loving spin on everything in my life.
Grateful Dead They Love Each Other Baby Onesie 6 months size

Grateful Dead They Love Each Other Baby Onesie 6 months size

Grateful Dead Cassidy Baby Onesie 6 months size

Grateful Dead Cassidy Baby Onesie 6 months size

The Music Never Stopped Grateful Dead Baby Onesie 6 months size

The Music Never Stopped Grateful Dead Baby Onesie 6 months size

It’s all interesting, waking up everyday with a positive attitude, meeting new folks, overcoming obstacles, creative challenges, thinking outside the box. There’s so many directions to go and always something to learn in the screen printing business, keeps me on my toes. Of course, going to shows which I don’t tour more than a week at a time normally with a family and business to look after but meeting new faces and seeing old friends and family is the best. Dancing like a madman to live music is the spiritual recharging that makes it all worth it.
BE HERE NOW T shirts inspired by Baba Ram Dass

BE HERE NOW T-shirts inspired by Baba Ram Dass

When sales are low, I am always the most creative and energized by staying up all night brainstorming, sketching ideas and experimenting maybe out of desperation to keep my dreams alive and evolve as an artist at the same time.. Living a sober lifestyle and keeping a healthy diet and simply helping others gets me through hard times. Remaining humble and knowing I have a family to provide for keeps me upbeat and always productive. I don’t like the idea of having a “Plan B”, I prefer to stay the course of “Plan A” which I enjoy too much to ever give up. Downtime? I write songs and play the guitar of course. I love spending time with my family out here by the sea and love to do some experimental abstract painting outdoors on occasion to keep the energy flowing 😉

Karma original acrylic painting on wood by Josh Phagan

Karma original acrylic painting on wood by Josh Phagan

Zebra Love original painting by Josh Phagan

Zebra Love original painting by Josh Phagan

Lust ... Original art wall hanging signed by artist Josh Phagan

Lust … Original art wall hanging signed by artist Josh Phagan

~**Enter The Coupon Code: ONELOVE  for %15 off total order at checkout!**~


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Josh Phagan

Owner~ Mongo Arts Newport, NC, USA

Contact Info

Office phone: 843-902-5562



Mongo Arts Custom Screen Printing Etsy

Social Media

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Visit me on Linkedin


13 responses »

  1. Absolutely *loving* this! I wanna know more! Where did Josh get the name for his shop? What are his favorite GD songs? Bobby or Jerry? Most memorable show? Wharf rat-I know there’s a story behind it (prolly too personal but…) How does he get his wholesale accounts? Super cool to meet the man behind the art! Much ❤

  2. Congratulations Josh., Mongo Arts Team, Deadhead Art Alliance’s newest Leader Lauren and Cheers to a beautiful artist of the month interview!, the future of the craft world, and Bliss to all who come to share our love! Love the Light you All Shine on the World! Deadhead Art Alliance Capt’n Jen

  3. Hey Amy, Great questions…The name of the shop? Well…Came to me trying to think of something unusual yet unique about 5 years ago. Mongo is actually slang in the NYC area for recycling old goods or “trash to treasure” which I still practice on the side. Favorite song.. Stella Blue or Morning Dew as of late… Favorite show? Saw Jerry 50 times but 3-23-95 was a mindblowing one, scored a front row ticket and Bruce Hornsby joined the band for a second set Scarlet>Fire>Unbroken opener!! Yup, a wharf Rat, clean and sober without a drink about 2 years now and its been the most life changing spiritual experience to date for me. Believe it or not, I actually enjoy live shows with much more clarity and feeling. “Believe it if you need it, If you dont just pass it on” ❤

  4. I just want to say how incredibly proud I am of this amazing artist. I’ve known this guy for 32 years. Ok.. so he’s my brother so i’m a little biased; but still let me say he is the most kind hearted person you’ll ever meet. He’s lived a longer 37 years than most and has seen and experienced more than most. His appreciation for life inspires me. He is a free spirit and kind loving soul. Anyway… he does amazing work and I just can’t get enough. I want one of everything he does. So support your local artist and buy up some goodies… he’s got a baby to feed! 🙂 Love you!


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