The Art Of Banksy, With A Nod to Flora

I met a very interesting chap up at the Floratorium* by the name of Chris Wildman, who suggested that my online life would not be complete without a visit to the site of an English artist named Banksy.

Turns out he was right. Very clever; very conceptual. Some of Banksy’s art is pushing at the boundaries of good taste, but then, that’s what art is supposed to do, right? Here’s a link to a page on the site suitable for viewing by the whole family: Outdoor Work.

Disney fans may know Banksy from some ‘outdoor work’ he once did at Disneyland, placing an inflatable figure representing a Guantanamo detainee as an little extra added attraction for the riders of the Big Thunder Railroad attraction. That little prank is documented on Banksy’s site in a three-minute video on his films page. His works have also been on display at New York’s famed Metropolitan Museum of Art – don’t miss the hilarious video, also on the films page, that tells the story.

If you decide to snoop around elsewhere on the site, be forewarned that some images might not be appropriate for all ages and political persuasions.


*What’s the Floratorium? It’s the hidden fortress where the collected original works of the great Jim Flora are stored. Original paintings and drawings, layouts for children’s books, catalogs and commercial work, incredible sketchbooks that reveal one mini-masterpiece after another, each time the page is turned. The picture below is nothing more nor less than what happened to be out on a table during a previous visit.

The Flora family is making limited edition prints available of a few of Flora’s finest works, and during my recent visit I was able to compare some of these new prints directly with the originals. The new prints are astonishing works of art in their own right, losing absolutely nothing in translation, thanks to the dedicated, painstaking work of Barb Economon, digital media specialist at The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Amazing and recommended.

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Laurel and Hardy by Jim Flora

Congratulations to my pals Irwin Chusid and Barbara Economon, who will be on hand tonight at The Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in Seattle for an exhibition of Jim Flora’s original art, fine art prints, and Flora ephemera. The show runs through October 24. And congratulations to everyone who gets to see this show; I wish I could.

Jim Flora is best known for his incredible record album artwork, but in addition to his intense love of music, Flora also loved classic comedians and turned to them as subjects later in his life. Above is an unpublished 18″ by 24″ acrylic canvas of Stan and Babe; below, an unpublished 11″ by 14″ pen and ink drawing of Buster Keaton in “The General.” (Images © Jim Flora Art LLC)

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