ames (Jim) Flora
is best-known for his wild jazz and classical album covers for Columbia
Records (late 1940s) and RCA Victor
(1950s). He authored and illustrated 17 popular children's books and flourished for decades as a magazine illustrator. Few realize, however, that Flora (1914-1998) was also a prolific fine artist with a devilish
sense of humor and a flair for juxtaposing playfulness, absurdity
Cute — and deadly.
Flora's album covers pulsed with angular hepcats bearing funnel-tapered noses and shark-fin chins who fingered cockeyed pianos
and honked lollipop-hued horns. Yet this childlike exuberance was subverted by a tinge of the diabolic
. Flora wreaked havoc with the laws of physics, conjuring flying musicians, levitating instruments, and wobbly dimensional perspectives
Taking liberties with human anatomy, he drew bonded bodies and misshapen heads
, while inking ghoulish skin tints
and grafting mutant appendages. He was not averse to pigmenting jazz legends Benny Goodman
and Gene Krupa
like bedspread patterns. On some Flora figures, three legs and five arms were standard equipment, with spare eyeballs
optional. His rarely seen fine artworks reflect the same comic yet disturbing
qualities. "He was a monster,
" said artist and Floraphile JD King. So were many of his creations.
JimFlora.com exhibits samples of Flora's fine art, commercial assignments, sketches, prints, books, and memorabilia. Our goal is to bring Flora's work to renewed prominence. We have published four anthologies
of Flora art, and several more are planned. Working with the Flora family we are producing and marketing prints
(in several formats) of the artist's idiosyncratic images. Flora spread paint on paper. We're spreading Flora over the planet.
Jim Flora once said that all he wanted to do was "create a little piece of excitement
." He overshot his goal with much of his work.
THE HIGH FIDELITY
ART OF JIM FLORA
The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora
serves two purposes: 1) it replaces our long out-of-print and highly sought book from 2004, The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora
, which featured the Flora album covers known to us at the time (along with a bunch of other cool stuff); and 2) it showcases the Flora album covers we knew in 2004 and others we've since discovered, along with a plethora of vintage Flora music-oriented art, most of which has not been previously published in our anthologies. This art rocks, bops, and swings from the chandeliers.
THE SWEETLY DIABOLIC
ART OF JIM FLORA
Paintings, drawings, sketches, and commercial illustrations from the 1940s thru the '90s, plus more Columbia Records artifacts. Also rare (and bizarre) early children's book drafts. By Irwin Chusid and Barbara Economon. Designed by Laura Lindgren. Published by Fantagraphics, July 2009.
THE CURIOUSLY SINISTER ART OF JIM FLORA
The first publication of dozens of rare fine art works by the artist, along with woodcuts, commercial illos, and early Columbia Records artifacts. By Irwin Chusid and Barbara Economon. Designed by Laura Lindgren. Published by Fantagraphics, February 2007.
THE MISCHIEVOUS ART OF JIM FLORA
Record covers, Columbia Coda
illos, Little Man Press artifacts, and more. By Irwin Chusid. Image Restorations by Barbara Economon. Designed by Laura Lindgren. Published by Fantagraphics, October 2004; 2nd ed. (rev.) February 2007.
Edition of 25
LIMITED EDITION 2007 RELIEF PRINTS
OF MASTERWORK 1951 FLORA WOODCUT
JimFlora.com offers limited edition relief prints struck from an intricate and well-preserved original Flora woodcut depicting a decadent, manic panorama. Railroad Town
comprises a catalogue raisonné of Flora fixations: music, dogs, trains, rogues, and toothpick towers. A macabre terpsichore frolics across the stage: junkyard hounds, a half-pint holdup man, modern-art genitalia, a speeding doorless car, quadruped humanoids—everything but empty space. There's even a railroad!
The image measures 11" x 22", and the full Railroad Town
edition print (with border) measures 18-3/4" x 30".
The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora
A Centennial Fine Art Retrospective, 1940-1975
We'll celebrate the Flora centennial with a major fine art exhibition at the Silvermine Arts Center
, Norwalk CT, Sept 20–Nov 2, 2014, curated by Irwin Chusid, co-archivist of the Jim Flora collection. (Opening Reception: Friday, Sept 19, 6-8pm.) On display will be dozens of rarely seen original paintings and prints, most never previously exhibited. Flora and his artist wife Jane were members of the legendary Silvermine Guild of Artists
, so this exhibit represents a homecoming of sorts. (Above: Chance Encounter
, a 1970 tempera, which will be part of the exhibit.)
New fine art print: Portrait in Blue
The latest addition to our fine art print catalog: Portrait in Blue
, a discombobulated mid-1940s caricature from the Flora archives.
The Miraculous Mambo Returns!
In 2012 we sold the last of our 200 oversized Mambo For Cats
screen prints. To celebrate the publication of The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora
, we're launching the iconic 1955 Flora RCA Victor LP cover in a newly formatted limited edition (gicleť, approximately LP size, different paper & inks).
What the hell is going on in Tenement K?!?
Jim Flora Wall Coverings
From Astek, Inc., Double E Co. and JimFlora.com
Our fine art prints
can be displayed on your walls. But thanks to Astek and Double E, you can now cover entire walls with Jim Flora's mischief and mayhem. Drawing from Flora's archival music images, paintings, and abstract designs, the Flora Collection
brings what the artist termed "a piece of excitement" to any space. Wild and playful, many of these splashy designs are suitable for children's rooms, recording studios, and dens. Double E Co. was founded by two Floraphiles, Eva Firshein and Elsa Menendez, and all images are fully authorized by the Flora family.