There's been little Florablogging in recent months. Not for lack of interest, certainly not for lack of fresh material. We could post something new every day for the next five years and still retain a cache of surprises. A few years ago we discovered a sketch album that contained 225 (artist-clipped and glued-in) pencil and ink drawings from the 1940s, very few of which were subsequently published or posted. That album alone could carry us through seven and a half months of daily posts.
Blogging neglect aside, we've been at work compiling, writing and editing our fourth Flora compendium to be published by Fantagraphics. The focus this time will be the artist's love of MUSIC.
Our first book, The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora (2004), featured Flora's known album covers. (No complete discography existed.) Since that book's publication, more vintage covers have been found, as well as the artist's rough drafts and rejected designs. The Mischievous Art ... went through two editions, but is now out of print, highly sought and available only at high prices through rare-book sellers. So we decided to compile a complete collection of Flora record covers (including recent discoveries) and unpublished sketches in one volume, augmented by music images not included in previous volumes. The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora will be the definitive anthology of the maestro's visual compositions, reflecting jazz, classical, and Latin music. Regarding his jam-packed canvases Flora once said he "couldn't stand a static space." There's nothing static about the images in The High Fidelity Art: they wail, dance, bounce, and swing from the chandeliers. They hit notes that shatter glass. This is art to which you can tap your toes and snap your fingers. Flora had a knack for grooving with a paintbrush.
The book will feature a 1998 interview with Flora which I conducted at his home on Bell Island, in Rowayton CT, just a few months before he passed away from stomach cancer. The interview has not been previously published.
The book is scheduled to reach market in August 2013. Barbara Economon and I have provided the contents, and Laura Lindgren expertly designed it—the same team as the first three Flora anthologies. It's currently in the final layout stages.