Vacancies are available for a brand new Jim Flora art print, released just last week!
Titled Tenement K, this limited edition fine art print features residents who are bawdy, musical, criminal, and/or exhibitionistic. Doesn't matter if you're rowdy, serpentine, or headless — the landlord will rent you a room. If you were a mutant miscreant, you'd be home by now.
The previously unpublished and uncirculated work, which dates from the 1940s, is owned by a private collector who allowed them to have the work professionally photographed for print reproduction. Although the work is untitled, they have provisionally named it Tenement K to differentiate it from other untitled Jim Flora works.
Only forty prints of Tenement K were produced for this edition, so don't delay -- move in today !
To celebrate the publication of The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora, our fourth anthology of Jim Flora artwork — and one which features all of Flora's known album covers — the infamous Mambo for Cats is dancing yet again!
Although the original print run sold out last year, a new revived edition is now available. It's about album-cover size (40% smaller than the original screen print), and is produced on different paper with different inks thru an entirely different printing process (inkjet, or giclée). One other significant difference: the screen print was on cream-colored stock; the giclée stock is white.
THE HIGH-FIDELITY ART OF JIM FLORA arrived! This latest treasury of Jim's art is the closest to my heart, as it covers the exact material that led me to him in the mid 1940s-and which had an overpowering influence on my own graphic attempts. Everyone who followed my work in the Record Changer magazine, reproduced in the Fantagraphics book, THE CAT ON A HOT THIN GROOVE, knows that much of my stuff was flat-out Flora imitation-emulation, though I clearly knew all the while that Jim's endless graphic invention was inimitable.
Jim himself was in many ways a parallel of his iconic images, a sum of many parts, just as all the convoluted sassy segments strung-out in space joined into a dazzling whole. A genius of his order may have had every reason to be arrogant, distant, or cold-yet Jim was downright jolly, warm-hearted, caring and helpful. He never berated me for stealing his stuff, but rather encouraged me and worked with me. I tried to work more with him, but am grateful that I was at least able to produce animated versions of his FABULOUS FIREWORKS FAMILY at Terrytoons and LEOPOLD, THE SEE-THROUGH CRUMB-PICKER here in Prague. Best of all, I am proud that he became my close friend and regular correspondent. His final letter to me lingers in my heart. This new book of his further ensures that I will never forget him.
“Music releases my inhibitions. Gradually, I’m listening to music and my spirit gets free and I work without thinking. Which is how you really create—without thinking. Music — jazz in particular — helps me flow. I can swing a little bit — try this, try that.” – Jim Flora, interview, 1990
Since the publication of The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora in 2004, the once-overlooked illustrator (1914–1998) has gained recognition as one of the foremost pioneers of a raucous, cartoonish style of commercial art that defines the mid-century aesthetic. Two follow-up volumes of Floriana, The Curiously Sinister Art of Jim Flora (2007) and The Sweetly Diabolic Art of Jim Flora (2009), captured the artist’s devilish and largely unseen fine-art works. Each volume reflected recurring themes: architecture, cats and dogs, science, maritime, children’s literature, cars, trains, and penchants for mischief and visual violence.
But one of Flora’s sustaining loves was music. His 1940s and ’50s Columbia and RCA Victor record covers in which legendary musicians were routinely afflicted with mutant skin tints and bonus limbs are classics of caricature. Flora was art director for Columbia from 1943 to 1945 and remained with the company until 1950. During this period — and during the 1950s as a freelancer — he produced an enormous amount of promotional ephemera, including new release monthlies, trade booklets, ads, and point-of-sale novelties. Music was Flora’s lifelong passion, which he expressed in rhythmic design tinged with a wicked sense of the absurd.
The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora, long out of print, featured Flora’s known album covers at the time of publication (no complete discography ever existed). In the intervening nine years, more covers have surfaced, as well as rough drafts and unpublished designs.
Flora co-archivists Irwin Chusid and Barbara Economon have compiled a complete collection of Flora covers (including recent discoveries) and unpublished sketches in one volume, augmented by music images not included in previous volumes. The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora is the definitive anthology of the maestro’s visual compositions, reflecting jazz, classical, and Latin music. Regarding his jam-packed canvases, Flora once said he “couldn’t stand a static space.” There’s nothing static about the images in The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora: they wail, dance, bounce, and swing from the chandeliers. Flora had a knack for grooving with a paintbrush, making art to which you can tap your toes and snap your fingers.
“Flora was one of those rare beasts: a killer illustrator/designer who could trigger powerful brain-invasive joy with thought-provoking art and unexpected design.” — Gary Panter
“There was one Flora cover in the record cabinet when I was growing up, and I was almost afraid to play it — maybe because the art came from a mad party in the Twilight Zone, or because nothing in the grooves could possibly have the energy and crazy glee of the cover. These manic little masterpieces belong framed on the wall in the Flora wing of a modern art museum.” — James Lileks
“Jim Flora is the missing link between graphic art and typography. No artist is better at juggling forms and the spaces between. He created an idiosyncratic artistic language, and he spoke a variety of artistic dialects as well.” — Joost Swarte
“I grew up in a household with these records. This book beautifully presents Flora’s album illustrations as stand-alone works of art. Flora’s designs speak directly to the excitement of music.” — Georgia Hubley (Yo La Tengo)
“Flora’s art is as fresh, appealing, and entertaining as when he was producing it — seemingly by the tons. His work shouts that the Cubists left off too soon. In the 1950s and ’60s, magazines and LP sleeves were splashed with his stylized designs, color, and playful figures. If tattoos were as popular then as now, people would’ve been covered from pate to toes with Flora.” — Arnold Roth
Since the 2004 publication of The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora, the once-forgotten illustrator has gained recognition as one of the foremost pioneers of a raucous, cartoonish style of commercial art that defines the Mid-Century aesthetic. Two follow-up volumes, The Curiously Sinister Art... (2007) and The Sweetly Diabolic Art... (2009), captured Flora's largely unseen fine art works, spotlighting a variety of themes such as architecture, cats and dogs, science, cars, trains — and the occasional swerve toward gratuitous violence.
But one of Flora's sustaining loves was music. His 1940s Columbia and 1950s RCA Victor record covers, in which legendary musicians were routinely afflicted with mutant skin tints and bonus limbs, are considered classics of outlandish post-Cubist caricature. During this period Flora also produced an enormous amount of promotional ephemera, including new release monthlies, trade booklets, ads, and point-of-sale novelties.
The now out-of-print Mischievous Art featured Flora’s known album covers. (No complete discography existed.) Since that book’s publication, more covers have been found, as well as rough drafts and unused designs. So Flora co-archivists/authors Irwin Chusid and Barbara Economon have compiled a complete collection of Flora covers (including recent discoveries) and unpublished sketches in one volume, augmented by music images not included in previous volumes. The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora is the definitive anthology of the maestro's visual compositions, reflecting jazz, classical, and Latin music.
Regarding his jam-packed canvases Flora once said he "couldn't stand a static space." There’s nothing static about the images in The High Fidelity Art: they wail, dance, bounce, and swing from the chandeliers. Flora had a knack for grooving with a paintbrush, making art to which you can tap your toes and snap your fingers.
Floraphiles, music lovers, and midcentury design aficionados, rejoice! The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora is nearly here, compiling every known Flora album cover for the first time, plus loads of other music-related illustrations and other, previously unseen artwork. Once again, editors Irwin Chusid and Barbara Economon and designer Laura Lindgren have put together an exemplary package showcasing Flora's distinctive and influential visuals in a snazzy coffee-table book. Check out this 21-page sampling here or download the PDF, and look for the book in about 4-6 weeks.
Hot on the heels of Gene Deitch's The Cat on a Hot Thin Groove comes another collection of jazzy midcentury music illustrations, The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora. Lovingly compiled and authored by Flora doyens Irwin Chusid and Barbara Economon, and designed by Laura Lindgren, this softcover coffee-table book will be swingin' and be-boppin' its way to you this Summer. Take it away, Irwin:
"It features all of Flora's known album and EP covers (including back cover illustrations) from 1947 to 1961 for Columbia, RCA Victor, and their affiliated labels, along with music-themed fine art works, illustrations, and sketches. The book was completed last week and will head shortly to the printer. (Despite what it says at Amazon, the publication date will be sometime in August, not June 30. We dawdled a bit.)"
Our first book, The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora (2004), featured Flora's known album covers. (No complete discography existed.) Since that book's publication, more vintage covers have been found, as well as the artist's rough drafts and rejected designs. The Mischievous Art... went through two editions, but is now out of print, highly sought and available only at high prices through rare-book sellers. So we decided to compile a complete collection of Flora record covers (including recent discoveries) and unpublished sketches in one volume, augmented by music images not included in previous volumes. The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora will be the definitive anthology of the maestro's visual compositions, reflecting jazz, classical, and Latin music. Regarding his jam-packed canvases Flora once said he "couldn't stand a static space." There's nothing static about the images in The High Fidelity Art: they wail, dance, bounce, and swing from the chandeliers. They hit notes that shatter glass. This is art to which you can tap your toes and snap your fingers. Flora had a knack for grooving with a paintbrush.
The book will feature a 1998 interview with Flora which I conducted at his home on Bell Island, in Rowayton CT, just a few months before he passed away from stomach cancer. The interview has not been previously published.
The book is scheduled to reach market in June 2013. Barbara Economon and I will provide the contents, and Laura Lindgren will expertly design it-the same team as the first three Flora anthologies.
Make it your New Year's Resolution to go out to more comics events! The Fantagraphics Flog can help!
Thursday, January 5th
• Portland, OR: Floating World Comics proudly presents an art exhibit and a signing with Tony Millionaire! He'll be autographing his latest collection 500 Portraits, along with his other titles, from 6:00 to 10:00 PM. Heck, we've watched the man sign body parts before, so don't be shy! (more info)
Saturday, January 7th
• Seattle, WA: And it was at Tony's last signing at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery that we watched him sign someone's arm, who then headed down the street to get it permanently tattooed! We hope that person, and all Seattleites, will join us from 6:00 to 9:00 PM for another fun-filled signing, this time for 500 Portraits. We'll be launching an exhibit of work from that collection, plus our Store Curator Larry Reid will debut the short live-action film "Everybody Loves Drinky Crow." (more info)