Sheffield Island - Letterpress printed re-strike from original 6" x 16" vintage zinc block from the Jim Flora Archives. Printed by Richard Kegler at Dry Inc. Studios in Rochester NY in early 2022.
Black on White version printed in an edition of 50 copies printed on 13.75" x 19.5" Magnani Incisioni 310 gsm printmaking paper. Deckle along bottom edge
Silver on Black version printed in an edition of 30 copies printed on 11" x 30" black Stonehenge 320 gsm printmaking paper. Deckle along bottom edge
From the JimFlora.com website:
James (Jim) Flora is best-known for his wild jazz and classical album covers for Columbia Records (late 1940s) and RCA Victor (1950s). He authored and illustrated 17 popular children’s books and flourished for decades as a busy magazine illustrator. Few realize, however, that Flora (1914-1998) was also a prolific fine artist with a devilish sense of humor and a flair for juxtaposing playfulness, absurdity and violence.
Cute — and deadly.
Flora’s album covers pulsed with angular hepcats bearing funnel-tapered noses and shark-fin chins who fingered cockeyed pianos and honked lollipop-hued horns. Yet this childlike exuberance was subverted by a tinge of the diabolic. Flora wreaked havoc with the laws of physics, conjuring flying musicians, levitating instruments, and wobbly dimensional perspectives.
Taking liberties with human anatomy, he drew bonded bodies and misshapen heads, while inking ghoulish skin tints and grafting mutant appendages. He was not averse to pigmenting jazz legends Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa like bedspread patterns. On some Flora figures, three legs and five arms were standard equipment, with spare eyeballs optional. His rarely seen fine artworks reflect the same comic yet disturbingqualities. “He was a monster,” said artist and Floraphile JD King. So were many of his creations.
Jim Flora once said that all he wanted to do was “create a little piece of excitement.” He overshot his goal with much of his work.