Purveyors of fine vinyl have no doubt come across the amazing LP designs of Jim Flora, whose illustrations graced the covers of albums by artists like Sauter-Finegan, Gene Krupa, Sidney Bechet and dozens of other jazz LPs from the 40's and 50's. WFMU's own Irwin Chusid was so enamored of Flora's art that he authored a book about him, The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora. Flora's art has also been used on various WFMU T-shirts and bumper stickers, and his style has influenced dozens of current artists such as Tim Biskup and Gary Baseman to name but two.
Recently, Irwin discovered a previously unknown cache of unpublished Flora artwork which showed a new, more demented side of the artist. From an interview with the AIGA Journal of Design, Irwin described the untombed cache of Flora art:
"A lot of his work is cartoonish. It's fun to look at, evocative of childhood nostalgia and dereliction of adult responsibility. There are clowns and kitty cats, grinning faces and beaming suns. But despite his later reputation for G-rated kid-lit, Flora, in many of these works, did not restrain himself from expressing darker impulses. There's no shortage of guns and knives and fang-baring snakes. Muggers run amok, demons frolic with rouged harlots and Flora's characters suffer from severe disfigurement. These elements - the banal and the violent - often co-exist within inches of each other on the canvas."