Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bix, birthday boy (and Flora tattoo #3)

Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke (1903-1931)

Today is the 109th birthday of Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke, an American "hot jazz" legend who's been dead for 81 of those years. Bix was an alcoholic who never took a legal drink in his life. He was underage when Prohibition commenced in 1919, and died before it was repealed in 1933.

Jim Flora, who loved jazz, rendered a caricature of this revered cornetist on a 1947 Columbia Records 4-disc set. Last week we issued a limited edition fine art print of the illustration. Despite his brief, sordid life, Beiderbecke was one of the most influential musicians of the 1920s, the only decade commonly identified with a specific strain of music — "The Jazz Age." Bix lived it, and helped define it.

P.S. Bix and Flora also helped define this man's arm:

Photo: Julie Belcher/Yee-Haw Industries

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bix & Tram print released

Today we launch a new limited edition fine art print of a classic mid-century Flora album cover. Bix and Tram was one of the artist's earliest record sleeve illustrations, issued by Columbia in 1947 on a 78 rpm 4-disc set. The cover features outlandish caricatures of two legendary bandmates from the 1920s "hot jazz" scene: cornetist Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke and saxophonist Frankie Trumbauer.

Despite what appear to be mutant facial and cranial features, in fact these figures look exactly like Bix and Tram! Bix was scarlet-complexioned due to his overindulgence of bathtub gin, and Trumbauer was green from showering in money. Little-known historical facts. No need to thank us. Come back often.

The work has been issued in a limited edition run of 25 hand-numbered prints. Prices will increase as the edition sells down.

Monday, March 5, 2012

traffic snarls

Miserable pedestrian—what part of "beep" don't you understand?

Untitled, unfinished tempera on board (detail), 1950s. Purpose unknown.