A Jim Flora record album art-themed collection, which includes rare, previously unavailable material.
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Chusid and Barbara Economon have compiled a complete collection of Flora covers (including recent discoveries) and unpublished sketches in one volume, augmented by music images not included in previous volumes.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. Full-color illustrations throughout