Frank Zappa Paintings & Drawings

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.

No Picnic, 1955

No Picnic

Foothill Echoes, Grossmont, California, May 10, 1955

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.

 

"Draw Me"

The MOFO Project/Object (2006) booklet, p. 49

MOFO
sketch from [FZ's] very own teenage scrapbook

 

"A Day At The Beach"

Patrice "Candy" Zappa, My Brother Was A Mother: Take 2, 2011, p. 50

A Day At The Beach

"A Day At The Beach"—an early Frank Zappa artwork done for Candy.

 

Family Room, c. 1958

Press clip, c. 1958 (from Greg Russo, Cosmik Debris: The Collected History And Improvisations Of Frank Zappa (The Son Of Revised), 2003, p. 17)

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 dihplay the Zappa collection.

 

(unknown title)

untitled

Gary Sohmers & Sandy Cass at Antiques Roadshow, 1999 (edited)

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.

 

(unknown title)

1958

eBay seller quoted in United Mutations

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.

 

Drum Shop

Drum Shop
Picture taken by Javier Marcote, Bad Doberan, July 16, 2015

Cheryl Allison, "Does This Bryn Mawr Shop Hold A Clue To A Mystery Involving Frank Zappa," Main Line Times, April 3, 2012

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.

Clayton Stairs, "South Carolina Local collector was featured on PBS show 'History Detectives'," Georgetown Times, July 20, 2012

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.

 

(unknown title)

Carl Zappa, History Detectives, 2012

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.

Lamp

 

(unknown title)

Horn Players

 

Keyboard Player (Terry Wimberly)

Keyboard Player Terry Wimberly

eBay seller

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.

eBay seller, c. 2006

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.

 

(untitled), January, 1959

1/1959

 

1959—"Masterbation" ("L.A. Night Piece")

Split From Twinkling Hell
MASTERBATION

FZ, letter to Grover Haynes, 1959

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.

 

"Abstract Self-Portrait," c. 1960

Oil On Burlap

Patrice "Candy" Zappa, My Brother Was A Mother: Take 2, 2011, p. 65

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.

Abstract Self-Portrait

Julien's Live, 2015

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.”

 

Horny, 1961

Horny

Ralph Morris, quoted in united-mutations.com

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?

Bonhams 1793, April, 2013

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.

See also:

 

William's Special #2, 1961

William's Special #2 William's Special #2
Wex Rex Pop Culture Auction, Allcollectors.com, March, 2003

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"

 

(unknown title)

From the cover of Joe's Xmasage (2005)

Joe's Xmasage

 

[Urban Landscape, 1960]

Property From The State Of Frank & Gail Zappa, November 4th, 2016, Los Angeles, CA, Julien's Auctions, 2016, p. 156

Julien's Auctions

318
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

$2,000-4,000

Joe's Xmasage (2005) cover

Joe's Xmasage

Frank Zappa (VPRO, 1971)

VPRO

 

"Merry Christmas"

Joe's Xmasage (2005) cover

Joe's Xmasage

 

". . . Snow White?"

Property From The State Of Frank & Gail Zappa, November 4th, 2016, Los Angeles, CA, Julien's Auctions, 2016, p. 150

Julien's Auctions

311
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

$2,000-3,000

 

[Rocket Ship Launch]

Property From The State Of Frank & Gail Zappa, November 4th, 2016, Los Angeles, CA, Julien's Auctions, 2016, p. 151

Julien's Auctions

312
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

$4,000-6,000

 

[Rocket Launching]

Property From The State Of Frank & Gail Zappa, November 4th, 2016, Los Angeles, CA, Julien's Auctions, 2016, p. 152

Julien's Auctions

314
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

$4,000-6,000

 

[Space Ship]

Property From The State Of Frank & Gail Zappa, November 4th, 2016, Los Angeles, CA, Julien's Auctions, 2016, p. 153

Julien's Auctions

315
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

$2,000-3,000

Orquesta Románticos de Cuba, Temas de películas. Rebelión en las aulas (LP, Zafiro ZV-584, Spain, 1971)

Temas de películas

 

Studio Z, 1964—Captain Beefheart vs. The Grunt People

FZ with Peter Occhiogrosso, The Real Frank Zappa Book, 1989, p. 54

Studio Z

 

The Paintings On The Wall—1966

Orquesta Románticos de Cuba, Temas de películas. Rebelión en las aulas (LP, Zafiro ZV-584, Spain, 1971)

Temas de películas

Probable FZ Paintings On The Wall

Orquesta Románticos de Cuba

Orquesta Románticos de Cuba

Informant: Javier Marcote

"Actual Frank Zappa Artwork"

Who The F*@% Is Frank Zappa by Alex Winter, KickStarter, March 8, 2016

Who The F*@% Is Frank Zappa

Who The F*@% Is Frank Zappa

Who The F*@% Is Frank Zappa

 

[Train]

Property From The State Of Frank & Gail Zappa, November 4th, 2016, Los Angeles, CA, Julien's Auctions, 2016, p. 154

Julien's Auctions

316
FRANK ZAPPA ORIGINAL ARTWORK

An ink and pastel on board original artwork by Frank Zappa.

7 1/4 by 10 inches

$3,000-5,000

Who The F*@% Is Frank Zappa by Alex Winter, KickStarter, March 27, 2016

Who The F*@% Is Frank Zappa?

 

[House On A Turtle]

Property From The State Of Frank & Gail Zappa, November 4th, 2016, Los Angeles, CA, Julien's Auctions, 2016, p. 151

Julien's Auctions

313
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

$1,000-2,000

 

"I Forgot"

Property From The State Of Frank & Gail Zappa, November 4th, 2016, Los Angeles, CA, Julien's Auctions, 2016, p. 155

Julien's Auctions

317
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

$2,000-4,000

 

Big Ladies

Property From The State Of Frank & Gail Zappa, November 4th, 2016, Los Angeles, CA, Julien's Auctions, 2016, p. 150

Julien's Auctions

309
"BIG LADIES"

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

$600-800

 

MOI Advertising & Collages

1966—Freak Out Hot Spots!

The MOFO Project/Object (2006)

Freak Out Hot Spots!

August, 1966—Son Of GuamboLos Angeles Free Press

The MOFO Project/Object (2006) booklet, p. 26-27

MOFO

Handbill, from RecordMecca.com

Son Of Guambo

September, 1966—Shrine Exposition Hall—Los Angeles Free Press

Shrine Exposition Hall

October, 1966—Hullaballoo

The MOFO Project/Object (2006) booklet, p. 54-55

MOFO

Property From The State Of Frank & Gail Zappa, November 4th, 2016, Los Angeles, CA, Julien's Auctions, 2016, p. 181

Julien's Auctions
[aspect ratio corrected]

374
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

$1,000-2,000

December, 1966—Union Second Floor, East Lansing, MI

The Paper, East Lansing, MI, December 8, 1966

The Paper, East Lansing, MI The Paper, East Lansing, MI

c. December, 1966

MOI poster

c. January, 1967

MOI ad

February 3, 1967—Los Angeles Free Press

Los Angeles Free Press

June, 1967—Absolutely Free

Absolutely Free

September, 1967—Hit Parader

Hit Parader

 

(Untitled), "Mothers Segment," December, 1967

Francisco Gentile, "Zappa as a visual artist," The Resentment Listener, May 26, 2014

Mothers Segment

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).

Mothers Segment
[December 1967—Mothers Segment—1/4]

 

c. 1967-1968

Another possible FZ collage.

The Lost Episodes (1996) booklet, p. 52

The Lost Episodes The Lost Episodes

 

God

Moon Zappa, Twitter, January 16, 2014

Just found this picture of God my father drew for me avec Quatto extension. pic.twitter.com/MeGT2DTJcz

God

 

Selfportrait—August 3, 1981

FZ, letter to Dale Brumfield, August 3, 1981

August 3, 1981

Mr. Dale Brumfield
[...]
Richmond, VA 23221

Dear Dale:

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.

Yours truly,
Frank Zappa

FZ

 

The "Little Super Devil" Series

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.

(unknown title)

eBay seller (January, 2010)

FZ

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.

Little Super Devil

eBay seller

Little Super Devil

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

Big Note Files, United Mutations, December, 2007

The Four Seasons Of Love

"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—

"Dream"

Brad Henserling (Zappateers, December 6, 2010)

"Dream"

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.

"Dream"

 

Additional informant (Special Thanks To): Javier Al Fresco

Research, compilation and maintenance by Román García Albertos
http://globalia.net/donlope/fz/
This page updated: 2017-11-08