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 three 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 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".
Jim Flora Wall Coverings
New from Astek, Inc., Double E Co. and JimFlora.com
posted: February 6, 2013
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.
Big Bank Robbery Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle
New from Artifact Puzzles and JimFlora.com
posted: January 3, 2013
The Big Bank Robbery
, a 1960s Flora tempera, has been one of our best-selling fine art prints. Artifact Puzzles has now produced a 302-piece wooden jigsaw puzzle
of the curiously sinister work. The shape of the individual pieces (see below) were inspired by Flora's art. The puzzle is laser-cut from 1/4"-thick wood.
Kangaroo for Christmas
posted: October 15, 2011
Kangaroo for Christmas
, Flora's fifth kiddie book (1962), has been reprinted in hardcover by Enchanted Lion Books
. (Buy here at Amazon.com
.) Last year Enchanted Lion reprinted Flora's The Day The Cow Sneezed
(1957). Enchanted Lion will expand their reprint series of Flora's long-out-of-print children's literature
in 2012 with Leopold, The See-Through Crumbpicker
Flora prints from ArtMuse.com
posted: October 1, 2011
ArtMuse.com ("Original Affordable Art") has produced four archival-quality, limited edition fine art prints
of iconic Jim Flora works from the 1950s and 1960s. The works (three of which were previously unpublished) are available in a variety of sizes.
PRIMER FOR PROPHETS SCREEN PRINTS
FLORA ALPHABET: SERIES #3 AVAILABLE
The third quartet of screen prints in our Primer for Prophets series feature cool Flora illustrations of the American nuclear family in the 1950s, when grocers employed stockdogs, crows fought tug-of-war over lingerie, and cigarettes were allowed in the obstetrics ward.
The images derive from a 1954 trade-only alphabet booklet that Flora illustrated for CBS-TV. Set #3 features ECONOMIZED
, and UNDERESTIMATED
. Edition of 100 (each image), hand-numbered and authenticated. Also available as a FULL SET
Primer for Prophets
series #1 (ATE, DROVE, JIVED, and SMOKED)
and series #2 (KISSED, COOKED, GROOMED, and QUAFFED)
are still available as single prints or as SETS.