Sunday, November 29, 2009


Great detail (extracted at the Print & Pattern blog) from Flora's mid-1960s painting The Big Bank Robbery. We issued a limited edition fine art print of the work earlier this year.

The backstory on the work is unknown. It may be a generic bank hold-up, or based on a specific historic incident. No documentation from the artist is known to exist.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

more anatomical spare parts

Detail from the Lord Buckley 10" EP Hipsters, Flipsters, and Finger-Poppin' Daddies, Knock Me Your Lobes, released on RCA Victor in 1955. Left to right: sports-fan centaur, polycephalic saxophonist, jubilant wench. Body count: three figures, eight legs, four heads.

We issued a (very) limited edition print (10) of this iconic Flora cover in 2007. Copies of the original cover fetch beaucoups bucks on Ebay.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

the cognitive process

Flora explains how the brain reacts to stimuli—it's all cogs, pulleys and tiny hammers. Another (see below) illustration from the November-December 1944 issue of Columbia Coda.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

phantom septet

Illustration, Columbia Coda, November-December 1944. The pianist is ... we'll get back to you on that. The clarinetists and violinists, forced to perform incognito due to union regulations, were represented on the session by essential anatomical components attired in boots and bowties.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

inside the art factory

We recently launched our third series of alphabetical Primer for Prophets screen prints (see preceding post). Minneapolis printmaker Dan Ibarra of Aesthetic Apparatus, where the series is produced, sent us snapshots of the production process:

Detail of WASHED:

First inking of ECONOMIZED:

Drying racks with ganged images after first ink pass:

Finished, dried, stacked, untrimmed prints:

We've now produced prints for the letters A, C, D, E, G, J, K, N, Q, S, U, and W (14 to go). While developing series 3 over the summer, Barb and I selected "U" (Underestimated) in anticipation of printmaker Dan's and wife Kelly's first child, expected in the fall.

Clover Isabel Ibarra was born 9 lbs, 7 oz at 9:31 pm, Wednesday, October 21, at St. Joseph's Hospital in St. Paul.

No triplets this time.

About Clover's birth, Dan writes:
Assisted by our three amazing midwives and a slew of other nurses at St. Joseph's, we attempted innumerable ways to get Clover in the right position and deliver her through a natural child birth. The labor was extremely hard on Kelly (as 72 hours of labor can be) and in the end we exhausted all options and had to perform a Caesarian. Although we really struggled hard to avoid as little medical intervention as possible it turns out that complications with the umbilical cord around the baby's neck and the position of her head prevented anything of the sort.

Clover was amazingly tough through the whole labor, rarely ever showing any fluctuation in heart rate or stamina. Some people say that how we are born is very telling of our personality. If that's the case, this new little girl is already the toughest, most cool-headed girl we've ever known. (Maybe Clover Eastwood might have been a better name?)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Primer for Prophets 3rd series

NOW AVAILABLE: the next four works in the Primer for Prophets screen print series. Cool Flora illustrations of the American nuclear family during the 1950s, when grocers employed stockdogs, crows fought tug-of-war over lingerie, and cigarettes were obligatory in the obstetrics ward. The images derive from a 1954 trade-only alphabet booklet that Flora illustrated for CBS-TV, depicting consumer markets for prospective TV advertisers.

The third set of prints features ECONOMIZED, NURSED, UNDERESTIMATED, and WASHED. Each work has been produced in an edition of 100, each hand-numbered and authenticated. Individual prints sell for $50, and a full set (four prints) can be obtained for $175. Full sets can be purchased via any of the single-print pages at

Series 1: Ate, Drove, Jived, and Smoked. Single prints: $60 (except Jived: $125); set: $200.

Series 2: Cooked, Groomed, Kissed, and Quaffed. Single prints: $50; set: $175.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Flora crosses the pond

Nine Jim Flora illustrations, album covers, and details found their way into yesterday's UK Telegraph Sunday jazz supplement (print edition). We were approached by one of the paper's art directors two weeks ago and provided dozens of vintage Flora music images (several previously unpublished). Their selections give the finished layouts a visual syncopation.

A pdf of the five pages can be downloaded here. (The pages will be online at shortly.)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Meow! Introducing the Mambo Mini

Our large (20" x 20") Mambo For Cats limited edition screen print is almost sold out. We're now offering a miniature (7" x 7") giclée open edition print of this renowned Flora 1955 RCA Victor LP cover. At $25.00, it's a great alternative for those on a limited budget—or with limited wall space.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

three legends

Three jazz legends, stacked, in the July 1952 issue of Coda, Columbia's new release monthly. From the top:

Harry James (trumpet)
Benny Goodman (clarinet)
Art Tatum (piano)

Each had a new LP that month: James with Soft Lights, Sweet Trumpet, Goodman's Let's Hear the Melody, and Art Tatum Concert.

As art director, Flora launched Coda in 1943, and provided most illustrations for the (largely classical music) monthly until he was named Sales Promotion Manager in 1945. This change of desk deprived him of artistic assignments. (Coda morphed into Disc Digest under new art director Robert M. Jones.)

In 1952, when Flora was a hustling freelancer, Columbia hired him to revive the publication. By then, Coda—in a downsized format—showcased the label's jazz, popular, and ethnic music roster. It lasted less than two years, by which time Flora had greatly expanded his client base. But because it was a music-related gig, he probably would have continued illustrating Coda as long as Columbia kept the monthly alive.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Jim Flora notecards

Back in stock: letterpress-printed cards with cool 1940s and '50s music and turntable illustrations by Flora. The cards were designed and printed by our friends at Yee-Haw Industrial Letterpress, in Knoxville. Packaged in sets of four: Dig You Later, Stardust Moon, Deluxe-O-Tone, and Trees.