Monday, August 27, 2007

Quartet San Francisco

To sustain the classic Flora LP tradition of the 1940s and '50s, I've long advocated restoring his art to record album covers. Aside from one or two knockoffs of existing Flora designs, the first new release to adapt Flora non-LP art was Do This! by Seattle's Reptet, in 2006. The cover for the forthcoming Raymond Scott Quintet CD Ectoplasm (scheduled for February 2008 US release) was completed last May. Now comes the Quartet San Francisco's Whirled Chamber Music, whose cover designed is adapted from a mid-1960s uncirculated Flora painting entitled Barberinni.

Not coincidentally {ahem!}, the QSF album contains seven Raymond Scott compositions (including "Powerhouse"), seeded amid an eclectic mix of Ellington, AWB, Bernstein, Corea, Tower of Power, and one original. As quartet leader Jeremy Cohen asserts, "The tradition of chamber music has taught us to play from our hearts with the highest standards. So when the music says swing, we swing. When the music says groove, we groove." Hear them swing and groove here.

Over the next few months, the QSF will perform in Los Angeles, Columbus, Pasadena, Louisville, NJ, NYC, Berkeley, Natick, and elsewhere.

Update (September 27): "Scientists working diligently in a laboratory somewhere recently discovered a DNA strand and have identified it as the Cartoon Gene."

Friday, August 24, 2007

odd couple

Untitled pen & ink sketch, ca. 1940. I detect the influence of Daniel Johnston. Or maybe it's the other way around.

Never mind.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Flora exhibit in Seattle

Barbara and I will be curating the first Jim Flora art exhibit since—well, since the artist's memorial service in 1998. The exhibit, named after our second book, "The Curiously Sinister Art of Jim Flora," takes place at the Fantagraphics Bookstore/Gallery. The exhibit will run from September 22 through October 24.

The Florafest will include original paintings, fine art prints, woodcut relief prints, record covers, music ephemera, and Little Man Press artifacts. There will also be stuff you can buy that has Flora mischief all over it.

Barbara and I will be on hand for an opening reception on September 22. More details forthcoming as arrangements are finalized.

Friday, August 17, 2007

laughing cow

Or perhaps she's just contented. Early pencil sketch, ca. 1940. There are a number of pencil and pen sketches in the archives which evolved through stages into paintings. This, so far as we know, isn't one.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Advanced Pictionary

D.B. Dowd (Professor of Visual Communication, Washington University, St.Louis) opines:
The modernist drive to split representation from its subject (that is, to open up a space between them, at the very least) included the ransacking of pre-modern art historical conventions, often to excellent effect. Jim Flora’s 1945 Coda cover draws on spot color printing and the use of spatial registers, a la Egyptian art, to deliver a strong graphic narrative with clarity and visual independence from, but knowledge of, its subjects.