Thursday, March 25, 2010
New launch: a miniature (7" x 8") giclée open edition print (at $25/ea.) of a previously unpublished and uncirculated mid-1990s Flora pen & ink drawing. Celebrities portrays anonymous showbiz figures as freakshow caricatures. This is our second open edition, low-cost fine art print; Mambo For Cats was launched last October.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Untitled pen & ink and tempera (or watercolor) on paper from the late 1980s/early 1990s, featuring a colorful zoom-in on an ocean liner with three faceless moptops on deck. This work dates from the close of Flora's maritime period (1980s), probably around the time, as he told an interviewer in the 1990s, that he'd "painted himself out of ships." His large maritime canvases of the 1980s were historically based, spectacularly detailed and less primitive. In the early 1990s his fine art reverted to a more playful and elemental style reminiscent of his work from the 1940s thru the mid-1970s.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Caution: archivists at work. Snapshot of two 1943 artifacts parked on a collapsible card table at CT storage facility housing Flora collection. Larger work is Charlie's Egg, a tempera on (the back of a) Columbia Records convention brochure; the bottom partial is one of two covers for an unpublished kiddie book, The X-Ray Eye of Wallingford Hume. Both images were fully reproduced in our third Flora anthology, The Sweetly Diabolic Art of Jim Flora.
Photo: Don Brockway, May 2006
Photo: Don Brockway, May 2006
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Columbia Coda, April 1952, listing 7" discs featuring recordings of legendary jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke, born this date in 1903. The page is crowned with a Flora horn. At the time this circular was published, Beiderbecke would have been a relatively young age 49—if he hadn't died 21 years before (which was 17 years before the introduction of the 7" disc). We wrote about Bix @ 106, chronicling his enormous musical significance as well as his self-destructive predilections.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Detail, The Many Aspects of Love, tempera on board, mid-1990s (and pre-dated by a pen & ink drawing). Not a top-tier work, the above partial reflects the extended mayhem. While there's plenty of vestigial Flora mischief (note demons in the head at left), works like The Many Aspects veer perilously close to self-parody. The complete work has not been published.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Spot illustration, Research & Engineering magazine, April 1956, showcasing the secret to corporate achievement: sever your rival's head. The sword-wielding executive regiment works most effectively when your competitor is a sawtoothed reptile. In the above illustration the exec-suite platoon seems to have arrived after the fact, as evidenced by the detached noggin and "+" in place of eyeballs, which in cartoons usually signify death.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Top half of 1948 Columbia 78 rpm two-disc sleeve, Come to the Circus. The complete cover and interior illustrations were reproduced in The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora. The 2004 book featured most then-known Flora covers from his Columbia and RCA Victor years. We have since discovered others, and are searching for a handful of strays that (based on archival clues) may or may not exist. Rather than include recent discoveries in our subsequent Flora anthologies, we plan to eventually publish a complete stand-alone collection that will include sketches and alternate drafts from the Flora archives.