Jim Flora (Jan 25, 1914 - Jul 9, 1998)
James (Jim) Flora is best known for his distinctive and idiosyncratic album cover art for RCA Victor and Columbia Records in the 1940s and 1950s. He was also an in-demand commercial artist and the author/illustrator of 17 popular children's books. Less well-known is that Flora was a prolific fine artist with a diabolical bent, who created hundreds of paintings, drawings, woodcuts, and etchings over his 84-year lifespan. Flora had a devilish sense of humor and a flair for juxtaposing playfulness, absurdity and violence. Many artists (e.g, Shag, Biskup, JD King) have been influenced by his work, while others have parodied his style (one of Flora's album covers, the 1955 RCA Victor 10" This is Benny Goodman and his Orchestra, was homaged on a 1998 Pearl Jam gig poster). Fantagraphics has published two volumes of his work, and a third will appear in Fall 2009. 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.