125

The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Irwin Chusid, Jim Flora
The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora
Fantagraphics Books
2004
ISBN: 1560976004

Back in the day when album covers had an impact on music-buying decisions and didn't require a magnifying glass, Jim Flora, as described by this book's author, "wreaked havoc with the laws of physics .

The book is conveniently divided into basically five beautifully displayed sections of Flora's illustrative career, from his '40s and '50s Columbia and RCA-Victor album covers (the bulk of his renowned artwork) to his creations for Coda publications and Little Man Press (the first ever re-printing of these fabled illustrations) and a final section featuring his varied commercial work.

Though Flora knew each musician's style, most of the time he'd design covers without having himself even heard a single note of an impending release beforehand! His signature style overshadowed much of the music found therein and certainly suggested the music of the more experimental '60s era, which was still decades away, than the mainstream, Swing and Dixieland jazz his musical figures and shapes accompanied. His psychedelic and playful jazz caricatures and noodle-y warped instruments graced album covers by Gene Krupa, The Sauter-Finegan Orchestra, Kid Ory and others, exciting the imagination before the needle even dropped. Ironic, too, that with all the bright color combinations Flora used, he was partially color-blind. Around the time of rock 'n roll's emergence, however, album cover art design shifted towards photographs. Flora became a distinguished kid's book author/artist.

Perhaps JD King (illustrator, musician and writer with obvious Flora influences) sums up Jim Flora's style best: "He was the start of an illustration style that took the modernism of painters Miro, Klee and Picasso, blended it with a jazz sensibility and added a dollop of the Sunday pages .


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In And Out Of Jazz Book Reviews Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In And Out Of Jazz
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 13, 2017
Read Jazzing: New York City's Unseen Scene Book Reviews Jazzing: New York City's Unseen Scene
by David A. Orthmann
Published: August 29, 2017
Read David Bowie: Behind the Curtain Book Reviews David Bowie: Behind the Curtain
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 20, 2017
Read The Beatles - On the Road, 1964-1966 Book Reviews The Beatles - On the Road, 1964-1966
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "The Beatles - On the Road, 1964-1966" Book Reviews The Beatles - On the Road, 1964-1966
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "Stan Levey: Jazz Heavyweight" Book Reviews Stan Levey: Jazz Heavyweight
by Chuck Koton
Published: December 4, 2016
Read "I Scare Myself by Dan Hicks" Book Reviews I Scare Myself by Dan Hicks
by Chris Mosey
Published: May 6, 2017
Read "Beyond Words by John Prine" Book Reviews Beyond Words by John Prine
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Jazzing: New York City's Unseen Scene" Book Reviews Jazzing: New York City's Unseen Scene
by David A. Orthmann
Published: August 29, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.