Tuesday, January 29, 2008

little red caboose

Detail, Joel Flora birth announcement, July 1947
Image courtesy Richard Loffer

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Thursday, January 24, 2008

ladder boy

untitled tempera and pencil on paper, from sketchbook, ca. 1950s

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Artist at Lunchtime (1996)

Self-Portrait: The Artist at Lunchtime
pen & ink on paper, June, 1998

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Steinweiss at 90

A Tribute to Alex Steinweiss, The Creator of the Album Cover, opens today at the Robert Berman Gallery in Santa Monica. In 1939, during the era of 78 rpm discs, Steinweiss revolutionized how record albums were sold by inventing the illustrated album jacket. At the time he worked for Columbia Records, a struggling label based in Bridgeport, CT. Previously albums were shelved in shops with only the spine lettering exposed. Steinweiss's vivacious color illustrations inspired record merchants to display the jackets face out, giving Columbia a retail edge over competing labels.

In 1942, while serving as Art Director for the label, Steinweiss hired an untested but promising young fine arts graduate from Cincinnati. Within a year, that talented pup—James Royer Flora—had succeeded Steinweiss as label AD.

Steinweiss, now 90, lives in Sarasota, and remains an active painter and designer.

The exhibit runs through Feb. 12.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Delaney and company

business card, Davis Delaney Printing (ca. 1950s)

pencil and tempera figures adapted
for above card (from sketchbook)

Sunday, January 13, 2008


untitled tempera on paper, ca. 1960s

Friday, January 11, 2008

toothy canine

unfinished, untitled pen & ink drawing,
sketchbook entry, ca. early 1950s

crawly critter

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

abstract tangle

One of many—a recurring Flora motif. There's something jazz-like about these images, as if the artist were jamming on a canvas, creating rhythmic design. This untitled 10 x 8 tempera, discovered in a sketchbook, dates from the early to mid-1960s. There are dozens of sketchbooks in the collection, spanning the early 1940s to the month of Flora's death in July 1998. Aside from pen and pencil project drafts, the books contain numerous fully rendered (and often signed) paintings and drawings. It's possible that no one—including the artist's family—has previously beheld the vast majority of these works.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Quetzlcoatl Returns (1997)

Flora did some mind-bending works in the 1990s — more curiously sinister than his work in the 1980s (IMHO). Quetzlcoatl [sic] Returns is an acrylic on stretched canvas (15" x 30") rendered within a year of the artist's death. Flora, who lived in Mexico in 1950-1951, was a longtime enthusiast of Latin American folkways.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

untitled street scene

untitled pen and ink drawing, 1990s, possibly Mexico