A lengthy gestation period: our new book, conceived two years ago, is today born. Fantagraphics, with godlike dominion, declared July 29 as the official publication date of The Sweetly Diabolic Art of Jim Flora, our third anthology.
Purchase at: Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, or from Fantagraphics. Doesn't matter to us. Buy it. Here's what you'll discover:
Like its two predecessors, The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora (2004) and The Curiously Sinister Art of Jim Flora (2007), this anthology celebrates a visionary whose work is steeped in vari-hued paradox. Flora's figures are fun while threatening; playful yet dangerous; humorous but deadly. His helter-skelter arabesques are clustered with strangely contorted critters of no identifiable species, juxtaposed amid toothpick towers and trombones twisted into stevedore knots. Down his streets lurch demonic mutants sporting fried-egg eyes, dagger noses, and bonus limbs. Yet, despite the raucous energy projected in these hyperactive mosaics, a typical Flora freak circus often projects harmony and balance — an ordered chaos.
The Sweetly Diabolic Art of Jim Flora features paintings, drawings, and sketches from the 1940s through the 1990s — many never previously published or exhibited; more artifacts from the artist's 1940s tenure in the Columbia Records art department; and vintage newspaper and magazine illustrations. Several galleries feature never-before circulated children's book drafts and abandoned concepts that pre-date Flora's commercial success as an avatar of kid-lit.
Footnote: Any online description that says the book contains "a 1984 interview with award-winning graphic designer Robert M. Jones, who offers priceless insights," is erroneous. We had planned to include the Jones interview at the time we were obliged to provide a far-in-advance book description for the distributor's catalog, but decided to save the interview for a future book. The Fantagraphics site has the most accurate book description.