Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Unfortunately, all has not gone smoothly: witness the crushing disappointment of thousands who purchased the Jim Flora Goats 'n Boats 2007 Hunk-a-Monka Wall Calendar. The calendar was discovered to be defective, with August preceding March, the June grid listing nine Sundays, and November—well, it was there when we sent files to the printer. Refund checks are in the mail. We apologize for the misprints and are working to improve our calendars to 99% accuracy by 2012. Meanwhile, please stay on the line. Your call is very important to us.
Monday, February 26, 2007
Similar to the Mambo For Cats silk-screen print, the Pete Jolly Duo was produced in a limited edition (125) by Minneapolis print and design studio Aesthetic Apparatus, using Flora archivist Barbara Economon's digital restoration of a vintage printer's proof. Prints measure 20" x 20" (much larger than the 7" x 7" EP version), and use three acrylic screen printing inks meticulously matched to Flora's original colors on archival 100-pound off-white cover stock. Each print is numbered on the front and authenticated on the reverse with stamped seals from Jim Flora Art LLC (a Flora family enterprise) and Aesthetic Apparatus. The name "Flora," which was typeset on the original cover, has been replaced with the trademark "Flora" signature from the period. In addition, the musician's names, which appeared in obtrusive typeset (non-Flora) blocks in the original, have been removed to better highlight the vibrating figures.
The first 50 numbered copies will be sold for $125 each, unframed. Further copies will be priced higher as stock depletes. Prints can be purchased here.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Artist Ward Jenkins reviews The Curiously Sinister Art of Jim Flora at his Ward-O-Matic blog.
Our friend Ward had previously posted about Flora's 1957 kiddie caper, The Day The Cow Sneezed, showcasing some rarely seen draft illustrations.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Forty-six years later, Flora portrayed Ory shouldering a musical blowtorch:
The above unpublished 1993 pen and ink rendering was actually the third time (at least) that Flora captured Ory. The below unpublished pencil caricature was glued in a scrapbook of early 1940s sketches, and features Ory with fellow trombone legend Honore Dutrey.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Flora wrote in 1988:
My uncle John Royer was night foreman of the Cincinnati Railroad Terminal Roundhouse. He was able to get me a job wiping the soot off the huge old steam locomotives. I would go to art school from 9:00 A.M. until 4:00 P.M. and then work in the roundhouse from 5:00 P.M. until 1:00 A.M. It then took me an hour and a half to get from work to my furnished room and to bed by 3:00 A.M. I was always yawning from lack of sleep.
Besides sleep deprivation, the job afflicted Flora with black spots on his lungs. Late in life, he could afford to be nostalgic about the railyard, secure in the knowledge that he could ride through it—and artfully render it—without ever again having to work in it.
Monday, February 12, 2007
FF to the early 1990s: Flora was retired, but his artistic impulses remained vibrant. He had undergone countless stylistic turnovers, including years of decorating huge canvases with marine motifs: ocean liners, cruiseships, sailboats, and harbor panoramas were Flora's métier in the 1980s. In 1992, during an adulatory visit from artist/fan Michael Bartalos, Flora learned that a younger generation admired his 1940s and '50s album covers, which had become avidly sought collectibles. This put the artist in a reflective mood. As he later told interviewer Steven Guarnaccia, "I finally painted myself out of ships. Tried to go back to my roots and see what I could do again."
He unshelved some of his early sketchbooks and studied half century-old drafts, which sparked new experiments with old techniques and themes. He created lusty caricatures of beloved Swing and Bebop legends like Zoot Sims and Coleman Hawkins, commemorating a musical age that inspired his "rhythmic design." In 1993, he reworked the 1947 Krupa in pen and ink.
Friday, February 9, 2007
The original illustration has not been found, and most likely wasn't returned by the art editor to the artist—which Flora said was common in that era. Either industry practices changed or the artist asserted a possessive streak, because the Flora archive contains hundreds of his original commercial illustrations from the late 1950s on. However, the classic stuff from the 1940s and early '50s—probably tossed decades ago.
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Saturday, February 3, 2007
If you don't like cats, make nice with the doggie:
But beware of this guy: