Tuesday, September 30, 2008

CCA elderly gent

Detail from "Ohio," full-page illustration commissioned by Container Corporation of America, 1947. The montage (fully reproduced in The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora, page 167) originally appeared in several nationally distributed magazines, including Fortune and Time. A detail previously posted here came from a scan of the magazine tearsheet. The above detail originated from a higher-resolution color print issued in 1948 by CCA.

As their name implies, CCA manufactured containers. The one pictured in cross-section above was designed to compactly contain a fully appendaged human male, one piece of furniture, and austere bric-a-brac. Drainpipe and barrel sold separately.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Jackson Square

One of a dozen woodcuts by Flora depicting New Orleans landmarks, historical vignettes, and social settings. The series was commissioned around 1940 by the Union Central Life Insurance Company of Cincinnati for their Agency Bulletin. The whereabouts of the original blocks are unknown.

At the time, having recently completed studies at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, Flora was a struggling freelancer. "Soft-spoken and unassuming," the Bulletin proclaimed, "James happens to be the sort of artist who works away eight or ten hours a day on assignments, and then goes home to cut away on another woodblock until early morning, just to keep his hand in."

Years later, Flora told interviewer Angelynn Grant, "They were my idea of what New Orleans looked like even though I'd never been there."

HT: D. Gorton for the aerial recognition.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sax-on-a-string, 1943

Cover, Columbia-Okeh Popular Records new release monthly, March 1943. (The sepia tint is an aging artifact.) Flora had designed these foldout booklets -- covers and interiors -- over the second half of 1942. Columbia appointed Flora art director, succeeding Alex Steinweiss, in late 1943, and he continued illustrating these monthlies through 1944. Three full 1942 spreads were reproduced in The Curiously Sinister Art of Jim Flora.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Satan's sugary spawn

Our next Flora compendium is being compendicated. Target publication: September 2009, by Fantagraphics. Cover design by Laura Lindgren.

UPDATE (1 June 2009): Publication announced first week of August.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sidney Bechet 78 set

Cover artwork (typography removed) of Sidney Bechet 78 rpm set (Columbia C-173), 1948. Flora had a particular fondness for early New Orleans jazz, especially the recordings of legendary soprano saxophonist/clarinetist Bechet (1897-1959).

Thursday, September 4, 2008

a walk thru the woods

unidentified sketchbook scene, early 1950s

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

猫ジャケ 素晴らしきネコードの世界

Japanese TV stars use odd commodities for dislodging food particles.