Mark Flowers & Kristy Higby
Paintings & Artist Books
A visit to Mark Flowers and Kristy Higby’s studio is a refreshing retreat into the mountains, but only a short drive out of the city. Up a small dirt driveway, around several curves you’ll come to a clearing with a lovely cabin and incredible views of the distant mountains. You’ll see a fire pit with outdoor seating, outdoor sculpture and old farm implements near a woodshed—it’s obvious the couple enjoy being in the outdoors. A warm welcome will make you feel right at home and the artwork—it’s well worth the drive to see!
Artwork that tells a story or has a conversation with the viewer is Mark and Kristy’s specialty. Mark focuses on paintings and mixed media wall pieces, and Kristy makes art books and documentary films. They tell stories of fascinating people, of travels, of events and allow the viewer to engage, relate, and reflect on their own connections and similar stories. Mark and Kristy were students at University of South Carolina Columbia when they met, and they have built a life together raising two (now grown) boys, teaching many, many students and creating in the studio.
Mark grew up with art. His father is a painter and noted artist in South Carolina, Tom Flowers, so it isn’t a surprise he would follow the path of artist, art teacher and mentor to other artists. Mark holds a BFA from the University of South Carolina and a MFA from Western Michigan University. While he has been a teacher of art, he has also chaired two fine arts departments and one painting department. His most recent teaching award is the Allen Zearn Distinguished Teaching Award at Mercersburg Academy.
He currently teaches at the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg, where he is also the gallery coordinator. Over his career he has had about 30 solo exhibitions, including the Burgin Center for the Arts in Mercersburg, PA, West Liberty College in West Virginia, the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum, the Asheville Art Museum and the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown, MD.
Kristy has taught book arts, drawing, and digital arts since 1977 in South Carolina and most recently in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. Her resume includes many exhibitions, articles and published citations, and corporate collections. Her artist books were included in the South Arts (Southern Arts Federation) traveling exhibition American Masterpiece Craft Exhibition, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, which toured throughout the Southeast for 3 years. She has won numerous awards for her documentaries. W.W. Norton chose her short documentary, Flag Day, for inclusion on a Norton Sociology textbook DVD. Flag Day also received an Honorable Mention at the 2005 Silverdocs Film Festival. Kristy’s most recent project, The Other Brother, is her first feature-length documentary.
While much more could be written about Mark and Kristy, Art Connections offers you the experience of going and having a conversation with art in this beautiful setting.