This is a rough compilation of some of FZ's paintings, drawings & collages that we know of, including some that we don't know for sure.
Frank Zappa, 9th grade, submitted the winning poster to the annual poster contest held by the California Division of Forestry, April 13. "There were 399 entries from 30 schools," said James G. Fenlon, State Forest Ranger.
sketch from [FZ's] very own teenage scrapbook
"A Day At The Beach"—an early Frank Zappa artwork done for Candy.
Winner of the state wide art competition sponsored jointly by the California Federation of Women's clubs and the Hallmark Greeting Card company is Frank Zappa of Lancaster, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Zappa, 45438 Third St. East.
Young Zappa was the honored guest Saturday at a tea in the Jack Carr galleries in South Pasadena where he was presented with the award for his painting. An abstract, it is entitled "Family Room." Theme of the statewide contest was "Symphony of Living." he was accompanied to the tea by Miss Shirley Eilers and his parents.
His painting will now be entered in competition with 47 other paintings representative of every state in the union. Winners on the national level will be competing for three scholarships to any schools approved by the National Federation of Woman's clubs and the Hallmark firm, according to Mrs. Albert Jones, Woman's club fine arts chairman.
Recognition of his skill was made here at Antelope Valley Fair time when he received first, second and third prizes for his entries.
Highly versatile, young Zappa does not confine his artistic pursuits to painting although he will study at Idylwild this summer on a scholarship obtained through the good offices of Mrs. Amy Heydorn, Antelope Valley high school teacher under whom he has studied. Currently, he is in Shirley Eilers' class at the Lancaster high school.
He is presently engaged in writing a book, but his reply to a query as to whether painting or literature would be his chosen career was "Music."
A performer on the drums, vibes and guitar, he is the former leader of the jazz combo known as the "Blackouts." But he enjoys musical composition, and his efforts along this line are on the classical level.
At least locally, a real demand is developing for Zappa's collection of abstract paintings. Mrs. Clifford De Wees of the new Sands Bowl said she is hopeful of hanging a group of them in the new Bowling establishment and Mrs. Jones, who arranges monthly exhibits in the Woman's club, has also expressed the desire to display the Zappa collection.
SC: I got it from Frank Zappa and his family. They were moving and they were just gonna get rid of it, and I said, "May I have it?"
GS: You said when we talked earlier that you had double dated with Frank.
SC: A few. He painted this when he was in junior college.
GS: Well, it's a wonderful painting, it shows an orchestra and an opera, it looks like, onstage.
This is an original pen/ink/collage drawing done by the pop-musical icon Frank Zappa when he was a senior at Antelope Valley High school in Lancaster, S.Calif. 1957-58. It is signed and dated by Zappa on back of poster board. My father, Howard H. Most was teaching art at that high school during that time. He had Frank Zappa in one of his classes during his senior year there. This drawing/collage was a gift from Zappa to my father.
The collage, titled "Drum Shop," depicts various percussion instruments. If a real Zappa invention, it would have been created in the late 1950s, when he was a student taking art classes and playing drums at Antelope Valley High School in Lancaster, Calif.
The collage, a bold, colorful drum store themed work that measures about 12" x 24", was found by [Edward] Lewis in a S.C. Grand Strand area thrift store about five years ago. He said he paid less than $5 for the piece.
I was married to Frank before Gail [...]. We met at Chaffey College and Frank used to make these drawings and we hung them on the walls of our small apartment. I have photos of some of them that show he signed them F. Z. and sometimes Zappa. [...] One painting I don't have a photo of is one of a base player playing a stand-up base. Very few lines but just enough to get the whole feeling of this base player's mood. It was a masterpiece. Don't know what ever happened to this painting.
Informant: Javier Marcote.
This is a painting that Frank did—I don't know exactly when—and it's done on plywood and I believe this is a collage. He originally gave it to our mother.
The picture he sketch is very old, late 50' or early Sixty's. Still in great shape for how old it is. Terry Wimberly was the keyboard playr of Frank Zappa band The Black-Outs. It was done while breaking during practice. HE autograph the drawing before giving it to Terry.
A PICTURE OF TERRY WIMBERELY A PIANIST AND MEMBER OF FRANK ZAPPA'S FIRST BAND THE BLACK-OUTS WHILE GOING TO ANTELOPE VALLEY HIGH IN LANCASTER, CA IN THE 1950S. ZAPPA DID THIS SKETCH OF TERRY IN 1958. [...] TERRY WIMBERLY MARRIED VERA AND WHEN HE PASSED SHE MARRIED MY BROTHER-IN LAW LEON. VERA PASSED NOT LONG AGO LEAVING THIS DRAWING TO ME . [...] IT WAS DONE WHILE BREAKING DURING PRACTICE. HE AUTOGRAPH THE DRAWING BEFORE GIVING IT TO TERRY.
Mr. Grover Haynes . . . .
Enclosed is a thing: L.A. NIGHT PIECE. I'll appreciate your looking at it . . . . like maybe publish it even. It's only a little thing.
That's about all I should say. If you do become interested in it, I have the illustration for it here.
Only Frank and God knew what was going on in Frank's mind when he painted "ABSTRACT SELF-PORTRAIT." This was a gift to me from Frank many decades ago, so I imagine it was painted when he was in his late teens or early twenties.
[...] When the Zappa family later moved back to Claremont while Frank lived in Ontario with his first wife Kay, that's when I believe this piece, "ABSTRACT SELF-PORTRAIT," was conceived and executed.
An oil on burlap painting by Frank Zappa. The artwork was given by Zappa to his sister Patrice Zappa, who refers to the painting as a self-portrait made by Zappa. The burlap is stretched on a wood frame. On the outside of one stretcher paper is affixed and marked by Patrice "P.Z." and "FZ."
It's 5 ft-4 inches by 24 inches, oil on rigid pressboard.
The painting is entitled "Horny." It was signed by the artist and dated 1961. It hung in his rehearsal studio in Hollywood during the late 1960s, and later it was given to me by the artist in appreciation of my work on several tours as a concert sound engineer.
The painting illustrates Frank's take on the difference between the male and female. Can you pick out the male and female instruments?
Oil on board, signed and dated ("Zappa 61") at lower right. Entitled Horny, depicting a pair of brass instruments that Zappa instead to symbolize a man and a woman. Zappa's short career as a visual artist lasted from 1958 until 1961, at which point his music career started to gain steam and left him little time for other pursuits. In the 1960s, this painting was displayed in the rehearsal studio of Zappa's famed Laurel Canyon cabin where he formed his band, The Mothers of Invention. The rehearsal studio later moved to a building on Hollywood Blvd., and this painting was rehung there before being given to the present owner in 1972. Accompanied by a letter of provenance from the consignor. 23 1/4 x 64 in.
Oil Paint on Paper, 1961, Matted, Signed and dated on Matte, Titled "Williams Special #2". Was given to 1962 Bandmate Drummer Ron Williams for his birthday in 1962 and subsequently given to the consignors mother, outside of Matte is approx. 9" x 12"
FRANK ZAPPA ORIGINAL ARTWORK
An ink and paint on board original artwork by Frank Zappa, signed in lower right corner "FVZ—60."
6 by 19 1/2 inches
FRANK ZAPPA ORIGINAL ARTWORK
A paint and drawing medium on green paper artwork by Frank Zappa showing a wicked witch talking to a woman and the words "...Snow white? Oh she lives with a bunch of midgets in El Monte..." Reportedly created in 1963, around the same time Frank Zappa wrote the song "Memories of El Monte" for The Penguins.
9 1/4 by 8 inches
FRANK ZAPPA ORIGINAL PAINTING
A Frank Zappa original painting of a rocket ship launch, watercolor and acrylic on grey paper.
11 1/2 by 9 3/4 inches
FRANK ZAPPA PAINTING
A Frank Zappa painting in the style of an animation cel, gouache on acetate with painted background. The image shows a rocket launching with the words "Whoosh" and "Pow." Housed in a paper frame.
9 1/2 by 7 inches, overall
FRANK ZAPPA ORIGINAL ARTWORK
A painting by Frank Zappa that may have been a set design for the unproduced film Captain Beefheart vs. The Grunt People. Paint and other medium on board, housed in an acrylic frame.
21 by 30 inches
Informant: Javier Marcote
FRANK ZAPPA ORIGINAL ARTWORK
An ink and pastel on board original artwork by Frank Zappa.
7 1/4 by 10 inches
FRANK ZAPPA ORIGINAL DRAWING
A Frank Zappa original drawing, black ink on paper. The image is of a
house on a turtle's shell.
9 by 7 inches
FRANK ZAPPA ORIGINAL ARTWORK
A Frank Zappa original drawing of an elephant with the words "I Forgot" and signed "Zappa" in the lower right. [...]
Drawing, 9 1/2 by 7 inches
A piece of artwork on which Frank Zappa has written the title "Big Ladies." It is unclear if the graphite on onion skin drawing was created by Zappa.
Approximately, 20 by 16 inches
[aspect ratio corrected]
FRANK ZAPPA 1966 HANDBILL ARTWORK
An original Frank Zappa mixed media collage created in 1966 for use as a concert handbill. The handbill advertised The Mothers of Invention October 23, 1966, performance at The Hullabaloo in Hollywood. The title of The Mothers of Invention's first album, Freak Out, appears in cut out red letters across the collage.
16 by 20 1/2 inches, overall
[FZ's handwriting and some collage recycled from San Marcos High School, October 15, 1966.]
In 2011/2012 the exhibition "The Art of Hard Rock" toured Europe "to celebrate 40 years of Hard Rock Cafe". [...] The exhibition included a painting (supposedly?) by Frank Zappa, with the tag "Untitled, etching for an album artwork" (see above).
[December 1967—Mothers Segment—1/4]
Another possible FZ collage.
FZ 28 MAR 70
Actually my name is QUENTIN ROBERT DE NAMELAND.... I'll tell you how I came by it—
NO DOUBT MORE LATER
GZ 8 OCT 71
Just found this picture of God my father drew for me avec Quatto extension. pic.twitter.com/MeGT2DTJcz
August 3, 1981
Mr. Dale Brumfield
Richmond, VA 23221
It is not every day that somebody asks me to draw them a picture, especially to use on the cover of a magazine . . . even a magazine from a place where they fry everything. Since your request is so utterly ridiculous, I will oblige you and I will draw something for you to use for your publication. Hope it helps.
Thanks for your letter.
All this series of paintings from uncertain date and their attribution to FZ apparently came from the same source, a woman who claimed FZ called her his "Little Super Devil." They all seem to be painted in the same style, notably different than the other known FZ paintings, so the attribution remains uncertain.
The art work was given to a lady I became friends with when I lived in Beverly Hills in the 80's [...]. She personally knew Frank when they were in community college and had parties on the beach together. [...] Water color with other mixed medium used—i.e., colored crayons/pencils.
Painted in his most early time frame of art—early 1960's while in community college. Named after the girl who was hi friend—and who double dated with him in Calif.—Title and girlfriend's name—"Little Super Devil"—signed boldly by Frank Zappa.
Some of the most interesting images come out of this painting each time it is viewed—it has been on display for a while and in that time frame people have pointed out many devils in the work including dictator A. Hitler—see close up—please note the Superman colors in this painting—thus "Little Super-Devil" lives and is a-kicking. [...]
Sixe 12 inches high (very high he was) by 13 and one half inches and 18 inches on the diagonal.
"THE FOUR SEASONS OF LOVE", a painting by Frank Zappa
the work is signed by Frank Zappa -on the lower right part of the painting.
When sold on ebay, a letter of the original owner came with the painting saying: "He called me his little super devil"—from the time when both of them went to Community College—
I came across the painting listed on the online auction site, webstore. The seller included two letters that were written by the previous owners about how they came to own the painting. The earliest letter is dated 1973 and was written by a woman who claims it was painted for her when she and FZ were friends at Community College in 1963 (Suzane R.). It also mentions that Zappa called her his little devil.
Additional informants: (Special Thanks To) Javier Al Fresco, Charles Ulrich.Research, compilation and maintenance by Román García Albertos