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Mischievous Art of Jim Flora Paperback – October 15, 2004
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*Starred Review* Old-LP collectors, in particular, are in for a shock of recognition when they open this almost-LP-jacket-sized album: "Hey, this is the guy!" Right, Jim Flora (1914-98) is the guy, the one who made those astonishingly energetic early LP cartoon-art covers, on which, for instance, jazzmen were playing so hot that their bodies flew apart like unstrung marionettes or, at the other extreme, melted together (apparently not altogether pleasantly: look at those bristling teeth on Inside Sauter-Finnegan). A drawer from childhood on, Flora turned to commercial art after giving up, for financial reasons, an architecture scholarship. He forged his distinctive style as the artist for a little magazine that he and another literarily inclined student put out on a shoestring. Cubism, Miro, Klee, and, especially after a year and a half in Mexico at midcentury, the great muralists Orozco, Rivera, and Siqueiros, influenced Flora; a further great Mexican, Covarrubias, who did a lot of commercial art himself, shows in the poses and contours of Flora's figures. Flora characteristically used four or fewer colors--bright, even pastels that, with the sharpness of his line, make his drawings suggest linocuts. His work virtually always provokes a smile, and pop-culture preservationist-revivalist Chusid accompanies a tidy gallery of it with his own and others' writing about and interviews with Flora. And mirabile dictu, the book seems to be typo free! Ray Olson
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About the Author
Irwin Chusid, based in Hoboken, NJ, is a journalist, music historian, radio personality and self-described “landmark preservationist.” Since 1975, Chusid has been a DJ on free-form radio station WFMU in New Jersey. He is the author of Songs in the Key of Z: The Curious Universe of Outsider Music. He has produced landmark reissues of the music of composer/bandleader/electronic music pioneer Raymond Scott, Space Age Pop avatar Esquivel, the Langley Schools Music Project, and has salvaged the careers of now-celebrated icons like Jim Flora.
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This, the first book on Flora, is probably the most essential, containing the Columbia and RCA album covers as well as Flora's work for the Little Man Press.
The text is intelligent featuring assessment of the work, reminiscences, and stories from Flora (who died in the late 1990's.)
With an Album Cover Discography, Bibliography and Illustration Vita, and Vintage Album Cover Bibliography.