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 James A. Flood  (1944 - )

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Lived/Active: Florida      Known for: photo-real ship portraits, ocean vessels

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Ad Code: 4
James A Flood
from Auction House Records.
S.S. Normandie at sea
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born on the fourth of July in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, James Allan Flood has been portraying ship images since he was old enough to hold a crayon. His avid love for ships and sea dates back to early childhood, when a doting uncle took him on an outing to visit ships in the Philadelphia dockyard. The visit inspired one of his earliest works, the ship "Queen Mary: at sea, which he painted with poster paints when he was about age of seven. The work remains today in his archives, sealed in plastic.

A restless and distracted child at school, Flood stubbornly persisted in developing his talent, much to the dismay of his family. Often he escaped his studies to traverse the local creeks and waterways of Philadelphia to navigate the ship models he built in stolen hours. He hid his model ships in a duffel bag as he journeyed, hoping that boyhood friends would think he was hunting with cleverly hidden traps rather than 'playing' with his ships.

He attributes his earliest artistic education to two nearby neighbors from his home-town neighborhood in Philadelphia: Georgetta Lawrence, an artist, who took it upon herself to privately tutor him for several years from the time he was ten years old; and Josie Kronmuller, an art teacher from Frankfurt High School. He also gives credit to a Mr. Charles Maillardet, who taught him art at Girard College in Philadelphia from 1955 through 1957.

Flood moved to Miami, Florida in the early sixties, where he learned art from his high school art teacher, Mr. deMao, from Jackson High School in Miami. It was the only real schooling in art he would ever receive, for in college he was to be repeatedly ridiculed for his hyper-realistic style. He credits his success today for stubbornly turning a blind eye to those criticisms.

He considers Carl Evers to be the artist that has had the greatest influence over his own work, and spent many hours of his early days as an artist attempting to absorb Ever's masterful depiction of an active sea.

Flood's singular tastes inundate his self-made environment. Handcrafting his first vest at the age of fourteen, he initialized his signature wardrobe. Today, he stands out in any crowd; bedecked in hand-tailored vintage clothing, he has a smile beaming from under a moustache twisted and waxed at the ends, his watch chain is carefully planted between two vest pockets. His sailboat, the "Royal Charles", a 26-foot yawl, is docked on the Miami River and is surely the most loved of vessels, having been conceived and built by Flood to resemble her 17th-century icon, the Royal Charles of King Charles II. The "Royal Charles" has primrose color, buffed, and cornflower blue, and is double-masted, and decorated bow and aft with hand
molded sculptures reminiscent of the restoration period. Charles can be seen
on special Sundays heading down river towards Biscayne Bay.

Flood joined the Navy in 1967, and served on the USS Laffey, the USS Wright, and then as quartermaster on the USS New Jersey. He returned to civilian life in 1969. He went to college, sang, played the piano, taught sailing, and eventually ended up in the art department of Eastern Air Lines, where he sketched, drew, and painted airplanes. During all this, he continued to paint ships, and, after the fall of Eastern Air Lines, made painting his full-time job.

His work is on display at the Naval Institute in Annapolis, the Wiley Post Museum in Oklahoma City, the Olympia Memorial in Philadelphia, the Royal Yachting Association in Southampton, the Battleship Alabama in Mobile, the Biscayne Bay Harbor Pilots Association in Miami, the Washington Historical Museum, the Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth 2, the Mystic Seaport, The U.S.S. Texas, the U.S.S. New Jersey, and the Historical Museum of South Florida, and many cruise ships. J

His art has appeared in the Naval Institute's "Naval History Magazine", "Steam Boat Bill", the Journal for the Steamship Historical Society of America, "Pictorial Histories", "Sea Classics Magazine", "Preston's", and "Military History" Magazine.

His clients include the former governor of New Jersey, Christie Todd Whitman, as well as actor Sylvester Stallone and tennis champion Gardner Mulloy. Singer Rod Stewart has collected many of Jim's works in either giclee or print format. In 1996, Flood was invited to visit the Duke of Edinburgh aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia in order to present his painting of the yacht to the Duke's Trust. His paintings have been used in the sets of a 20th-Century Fox film, "Speed Two" and at a Memphis Exhibition on the Titanic in 1997, as well as on the set of the television production of "Frasier". President George Bush was presented with a print of Jim's "USS Texas" in the White House in 2002. New Florida on WPBS ran a feature in February of 2002 displaying his artwork and lifestyle.

Jim is an avid maritime historian, a fact that is vividly reflected throughout his home. The walls are covered with framed images of his original paintings of warships, historic sailing vessels, and beloved ocean liners. Ships models (hand made, many by Flood), display amid towering rows of shelved history books. In his studio, surrounded by models, plans, photographs, and history books, Flood likes to become familiar with every aspect of a ship and her history before he begins painting her portrait. Most of his work is acrylic on canvas, although some of his works have been done in oil on canvas.

His ship paintings are rendered with colorful and diffuse atmospherics and are often framed in a familiar background, such as the Golden Gate Bridge or New York Harbor. For eighteen years, he painted from a Florida pine cottage off the Miami River, but has since moved his studio to Delray Beach, Florida.

He has recently returned from a lecture tour aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2, where he engaged in talks concerning his artwork. Seven of his most recent paintings can be viewed aboard Queen Mary 2 in her on-board gallery and Commodore Lounge. This coming May and June (2004), he will be teaching art classes during two transatlantic crossings on the new ship.

Submitted by the artist, April 2004.

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