Saturday, January 31, 2009

Champlin's Dock

Middle of three tiers from sketchbook tempera, ca. 1963-65

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Eat that Pumpkin Pie

Just released by Euclid Records, a new 45 rpm single by Terry Adams & the Whole Wheat Horns whose sleeve features a Jim Flora musician montage. The chaotic combo, which incorporates cartoonish players from numerous Flora 1940s and 1950s sources, was created by Barbara Economon and yrs trly for our second book, The Curiously Sinister Art of Jim Flora.

The calamitous crew evolved from a trio to include as many as eleven figures, until our beloved book designer Laura Lindgren, who doubles as our de factor editor, urged us (smartly) to downsize the book version to a quintet. Dubbed "Kid Flory's Hot 5," it appears on page 10 of TCSA.

Joe Schwab of Euclid approached us about using Flora figures on the cover of the Adams single. We proposed the Kid Flory variations, and Joe opted for the septet version.

The single is a solo release for Adams, keyboardist for the legendary NRBQ since the late 1960s. A consummate showman and idiosyncratic master of the 88's, Terry is also one of the masterminds behind the Shaggs revival, having helped convince Rounder Records to release Philosophy of the World on vinyl in 1980.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jim!

Flora would have turned 95 today. His centennial is on the horizon. The above tempera and pencil illustration on card stock, found in the archives, dates from the early- to mid-1940s, the original purpose unknown. The re-purposing is known: Happy Birthday, Mr. Flora. From "the editors."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Kid Ory album Fine Art Print

Our 2009 Jim Flora fine art print series kicks off with a limited-edition, archival-quality giclee of a classic Columbia Records album cover, Kid Ory and His Creole Jazz Band. The oversized (15-3/4" x 15-1/2") print image is larger than the original album cover.

The album was released in 1947 as a 78 rpm four-disc set, and was part of Columbia's Hot Jazz series. Trombonist Edward "Kid" Ory (1886-1973) was a legendary pioneer in the development of New Orleans jazz stylings of the early 20th century. As a bandleader he hired a number of players who later achieved great prominence, including Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, and King Oliver.

Does the Flora caricature on the cover resemble Ory? No way. "I could never do likeness," Flora once admitted. The cover figure looks like … something Jim Flora would do.

The edition of twenty was produced by Flora archivist Barbara Economon from a mint-condition artist's proof sheet of the Ory cover in the Flora collection. It is the seventh iconic Flora cover to be issued as a limited edition fine art print.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

strange foot traffic

Duos, a collection of works by Charles Wuorinen composed for two musicians, is now available from Albany Records. The untitled Flora cover art, licensed for this release (by Howard Stokar), is from an early- to mid-1960s sketchbook.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

tabletop tabby

In the full image, he's actually perched on a piano. This cover kitty appears on the 1955 RCA Victor LP Collaboration, by Shorty Rogers and Andre Previn. Felines slink, scurry, and snooze in countless Flora works—he gave them frequent supporting roles in drawings, paintings, and commercial illustrations. Flora was a friend of the furries. Doggies too.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Broadway Celebrates the Big Apple

Jim Flora's 1954 cosmopolitan woodcut, Manhattan, has been adapted for the cover of a new music folio. Broadway Celebrates The Big Apple: Over 100 Years of Show Tunes About New York City, was launched January 5 by Alfred Publishing Co. Cary Ginell, Associate Editor for Popular Music at Alfred, is a Flora fan who discussed image licensing with us last year. After reviewing samples, Ginell deemed the Manhattan cityscape ideally suited for this developing project.

The book contains piano-vocal-chord charts for 42 Tin Pan Alley classics. As the title suggests, the repertoire covers over a century: from 1904 ("Give My Regards to Broadway") to 2006 ("Another Saturday Night in New York)". The interim years are represented by "Harlem Serenade" (1937), "Give It Back to the Indians" (1939), "Lounging at the Waldorf" (1978), "Welcome to Brooklyn" (1993), and dozens more.

Broadway Celebrates the Big Apple is available now from Alfred online, or from Amazon (shipping in February).

Manhattan limited edition fine art prints are available, now in two color versions: red and blue.

Monday, January 12, 2009

boredom pays

Jason Bradshaw: "My girlfriend Lisa and I decided to take up bookbinding. We’re starting off doing passport sized blank notebooks. We’ve been using printer paper for the insides and card stock for the cover. I took some Jim Flora album cover prints and made a small pile of mini sketchbooks which I intend to give out to a couple of friends."

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sorcerer's Village

Pen & ink drawing, mid-1990s. This work was later adapted for a large colorful acrylic canvas. Both undated works reflect Flora's mid-1990s techniques and media. The painting was recently photographed and is being considered for reproduction in our next anthology.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Archiving, May 2006

photo by Don Brockway, May 15, 2006, Norwalk CT

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Art serving commerce

business card, Davis Delaney Printing (ca. 1950s)

adapted pencil and tempera figures from sketchbook

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Peter and the Wolf

Detail, Peter and the Wolf album promotion,
Columbia Coda, January 1953. Wolf on lunch break.