The images derive from a 1954 trade-only alphabet booklet titled PRIMER FOR PROPHETS that Flora illustrated for CBS-TV. The booklet, not circulated to the public, served to attract corporate advertisers to the emerging medium of television (with “Prophet” in the title being a pun on “profit”). Each page featured Flora illustrations of past-tense verbs (A to Z) that reflected daily activities of American families, suggesting products they would purchase. Each illustration is a masterpiece —Flora at his mid-century commercial peak. That same year Flora began illustrating RCA Victor album covers, creating some of his most iconic images (e.g., Mambo for Cats). The PRIMER illustrations are consistent with the best of his RCA work.
The PRIMER FOR PROPHETS screen prints were produced in a limited edition of 100 (of each letter) by Minneapolis print/design studio Aesthetic Apparatus, using Flora archivist Barbara Economon’s high-resolution digital scan of a mint copy of the rare booklet. The artwork has not been cropped or altered — it is reproduced exactly as it originally appeared. The trademark “Flora” signature, which did not appear on the original illustrations, has been added in the lower right.
Hand-numbered copies of unframed prints are $50.00 each, with discounts for the purchase of multiple prints.
Each printed and trimmed sheet is 13″ x 7-1/2″ (including a 3/4″ margin around the active artwork). The prints use acrylic screen inks meticulously matched to Flora’s original colors on off-white 100-lb., archival-quality, uncoated cover stock (French Paper Co.’s “Whitewash”). Each print is hand-numbered on the front and authenticated on the reverse with stamped seals from Jim Flora Art LLC and Aesthetic Apparatus.
Great effort was made to ensure the quality and craftmanship of each print. Given the organic nature of the screen printing process, small spots or specks are often present on some prints. However, such minute imperfections are common and do not detract or distract from the image itself. Actual print images are sharper than they appear online.
In 2011, a decision was made to discontinue the series. It is unlikely the remaining letters in the series will be issued in screen or any other format. A 12th print, JIVED, sold out in September 2017 and is no longer available. As existing print stocks sell down, prices for remaining prints may increase.