As a longstanding Jazz fan, I have been enamored of Jim Flora’s work for some time (eg, this and this) . His work is bright and lively and full of life — perfect for all of those Jazz album covers he did in the 1950s and 60s.

I suspect that many of his fans did not know he did illustrations for business publications as well.

When Irwin Chusid (who handles the art archive for the Flora estate) showed me this illustration “Money Flow,” I was thrilled. It was created for the 1964 December Fortune, and though it was supposed to show complexity and complications of national money flow, in light of what’s happened recently, it seems almost quaint in comparison. (I just redid my study where I do my writing, the walls were calling out for a splash of color).
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Money Flow

click for larger delightful artwork; (ginormous version here)

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Info about the work and artist appear after the jump

Anyone wanting more info about Flora and his works should contact Irwin Chusid (either here or at info@jimflora.com, who manages the portfolio of work for the Flora Estate.

Originally appeared in Fortune, December 1964 article: “The Next Turn in Taxes”

The work was purchased from the estate of James (Jim) Flora (1914-1998)
pen & ink with tempera on illustration board
full size: 22 x 16-1/2
image: 16-1/4 x 12-3/4

Flora rendered dozens of topical illustrations for Fortune during the 1950s and 1960s. Many originals remain in the family collection and are for sale.

Backstory:
After working for Columbia Records since 1943, Flora moved to Mexico with his wife and two children in 1950, staying 15 months and living the life of a carefree artist. He returned to Connecticut in mid-’51 to embark on a career as a freelance illustrator. He was struggling to find clients, and wrote the following in a 1987 reminiscence:

“I made up a portfolio of my artwork and began to call on art directors to try to sell my illustrations. I first went to see a friend, Bill Golden, art director of the CBS network. Bill put on his overcoat and marched me from Madison Avenue to Rockefeller Center to see Leo Lionni, the art director of Fortune magazine. Leo looked at my things and Bill said, ‘Give him a job right now.’ Leo commissioned me to do their May 1952 cover. I could not have had a more auspicious entry into a career in the New York publishing world.”

Category: Digital Media, Federal Reserve

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4 Responses to “Jim Flora: Money Flow”

  1. illoguy says:

    Wow. A money guy and tech geek with good taste in artists. Flora has influenced a whole generation of illustrators and designers today. Including me.

  2. jaymaster says:

    Hmmm. Looks very MMT’ish.

  3. BR,

    Flora did other ‘Business Themes’, as well..

    maybe, you could speak with Chusid about releasing more of them..(?)

  4. I think he in interested in doing just that