Recently I revisitied the Jim Flora gallery and was reminded again of what a brilliant artist he was. Mostly he’s known for a series of eye-popping album covers drawn for RCA and Columbia Records in the ’50s, but he did amazing magazine and book illustration as well (I actually saw a Flora children’s book at an antique mall a few years back, but the dealer wanted, like, sixty bucks for it). I love the way he utilized the limitations of printing from that time, and how much energy he could convey with line and shape. His work has the kind of uninhibitedness that you’d find in the drawings of mental institution patients, but surprisingly Flora led a normal life of a family man with a wife and five kids.
Flora’s art has been showcased in one book already — Irwin Chusid’s The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora. Now comes news that Chusid and collaborator Barbara Economon are working on a follow-up, The Curiously Sinister Art of Jim Flora, set to be published by Fantagraphics in early 2007. While Mischievous focused on Flora’s commercial works, Sinister will delve into Flora’s even more “out there” personal art. Check the AIGA’s interview with Chusid and you can see samples of this jaw-dropping stuff.
Oh, and this is a gas. Mr. Chusid was kind enough to share a piece of art from the Sinister book with yer humble weblogger. Behold — Flora, doggie-style: