Monday, April 23, 2007

Railroad Town (relief print)

click for panoramic magnificence

Flora created the woodcut RAILROAD TOWN in 1951, during his 15-month family sojourn in Mexico. It's a manic mural, crammed with sinister figures interlocking like rune-shaped brickwork. Pictured above is a 2007 relief print, with black ink on 280g archival-quality Rives BFK cream. The block measures 11" x 22-1/4", and the full print (with border) measures 18-3/4" x 30". Working with Yee-Haw Industrial Letterpress of Knoxville, we will produce a limited numbered edition of 50, which should be on the market by late Spring 07. In the meantime, we have a few limited edition, numbered and authenticated 2006 proofs to sell (in various ink colors on two different papers).

Does "proof" mean "not as good"? No, it means an earlier run, in different colors, on different paper, in a VERY limited edition. In other words, just as good, but more rare. Drop us an email to inquire about pricing, or to pre-order 2007 edition prints.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

That old black magic

Detail, 1943 magazine ad for Columbia Records saxophonist Horace Heidt. First line of ad: "Did you ever see a magician pull a gnu out of an old coffee pot?" Merlin knows that the dung of the wildebeest reduces the bean's natural acidity, resulting in a more savory brew. Just like Kopi Luwak.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Venice to Rome (pt. 1)

Tempera on paper, ca. 1960 (one-quarter of 8.5" x 7" work)

Monday, April 16, 2007

bone apetit!

Do you like children?, W.C. Fields was reportedly asked. "Yes, if they're properly cooked." Perhaps he would have enjoyed Flora's savory recipe. From Grandpa's Ghost Stories (Atheneum Books, 1978):
Next we looked at Mrs. Ghost's favorite program. It was about cooking and was called Feeding Phantom Faces. It opened with a big, fat-bellied demon in a tall white hat. He hauled in a big iron pot and showed us how to make soup out of a dead elephant. URK! Then an old blue witch taught us how to fry baby toes and eyeballs and bake a knuckle-bone pie.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

You're a flaccid weenie, Charlie Brown

irk Sillsbee in the "Design 2007" issue of Los Angeles City Beat:
"Where the Peanuts gang was congenitally static, Flora’s graphics positively exploded with energy, color, and behavioral abandon. His was often giddy imagery that bordered on visual mayhem. A mopey depressive like Charlie Brown would have no place in Flora’s oeuvre, which was populated with clowns, ecstatics, intoxicants, psychopaths, and exultant maniacs. Flora was the rare graphic artist whose work looked like a two-dimensional party on each page."

P.S. Gotta hand it to whoever designs City Beat's web pages—took an 11" x 22.5" meticulously detailed Flora montage and reduced it to the size of a commemorative stamp. And you can't click to enlarge it. Reminds us of what Eric von Stroheim said about the editor who butchered his film Greed: "He had nothing on his mind but his hat."

UPDATE: Sillsbee infos that the print version of LACB used the same art-unfriendly layout. In the "Design" issue, no less.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

crawly critter

Untitled, undated (ca. early 1940s) detail from sketchbook

UPDATE (August 19): Discovered this draft today in a folder of early 1940s pencil and pen sketches:

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Railroad Town (detail 1)

This is a print detail of Railroad Town, a 1951 Jim Flora woodcut. What you see above is approximately one-tenth of the entire 11" x 22.5" work. The rest is equally outrageous.

Barbara and I just returned from Knoxville, where we oversaw proofs for numbered, archival-quality limited edition relief prints of this iconic Flora work. All prints are restruck from the original Flora-cut block, and the edition will be produced by Yee-Haw Industrial Letterpress. Prints should be available in late Spring '07. More details forthcoming. And yes, we will post the entire Railroad Town panorama shortly.