The Other Brother: The Art of Jesse and Tom Flowers
The Other Brother film & art exhibit intertwines familial love & loss
while confirming the profound influences of art on all our lives.
- Feature Documentary
- Completion Date: Sept 4, 2014
- Run Time: 71 minutes Format: DVD
- Director & Editor: Kristy Higby
- Producer: Mark Flowers
- Associate Producer: C. Matthew Taylor
- Original musical score: Geoffrey Weeks with Logan Trask
- Voice work by Paris Peet
“Fantastic premise for an epic movie. This concept is so beautiful especially during this age of increasing fear and separation through the digital realm, etc. Art has saved my life and helped me carry on through this surprisingly intense journey. Thank you for taking the time to create this heart-warming picture within pictures.” –Sage Neri, Visual Designer
The Other Brother was screened at:
- Santa Fe Film Festival, Santa Fe, NM
- Bare Bones International Film and Music Festival and Bacone College in Muskogee, OK
- Upstairs Artspace in Tryon, NC
- if ART Gallery in Columbia, SC
- Coligny Plaza Theatre, Hilton Head Island, SC (sponsored by Picture This Gallery)
- Intuit: the Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art in Chicago, IL
- NAMI SC National Alliance for Mental Health in Columbia, SC
- Fine Arts Center, Greenville, SC
- USC Upstate, Spartanburg, SC
- Florence County Museum, March 26, 2016, Screening and Exhibit
- Mansfield Art Center, Mansfield, Ohio, October 2017
The National Gallery of Art has added the film to its viewing library of art films.
“The screening of The Other Brother surpassed my high expectations. The response to this magnificent piece of work was profound with the audience being genuinely moved by the story — a story that presents specifics about two people, artists both, and their family while inevitably touching on larger issues. The audience’s engagement was evident during the Q&A with filmmaker Kristy Higby, producer and other-brother son Mark Flowers, and the latter’s other-brother father Tom Flowers. An exquisite score with surprising music, including original music that most will not have heard before, complements the poignant narratives and interviews, and the passages from letters from the other brother, Jesse. I had been looking forward to screening this film at my gallery and I am so glad I did. It really was a memorable evening.” -Gallery Director, Wim Roefs, if ART Gallery, Columbia, SC
The Other Brother, Traveling Art Exhibition
Following a successful Kickstarter project that allowed us to share The Other Brother documentary with audiences this past year, it became clear from viewer feedback that this project should have a Part II in the form of a traveling art exhibition
We would like to share the brothers’ original artwork with museums, galleries, and art institutions that choose to screen the documentary and/or host the exhibition.
Mark and I have made a life in the visual arts; creating, exhibiting, and teaching. We know the value of exhibiting our work and want to create a formal opportunity to share Jesse and Tom’s artwork. There is no substitute for the real thing–original artwork professionally framed, with correct lighting, and hung in a space designed for that purpose. We think it would please Jesse to know that his work had an audience, and Tom is excited about the opportunity to exhibit side-by-side with his brother.
The exhibit will include a total of 37 works. Each brother will be represented by 12 framed works of art. In addition, there will be 12 framed archival prints from the “Side-by-Side” sequence in the documentary, plus one framed print of the poster promoting the film.
Here are three slide shows of the artwork:
“The Other Brother: The Art of Jesse and Tom Flowers is an extraordinary exhibition that will linger in the minds of those people lucky enough to experience it. Both the film and exhibition work together to give the viewer a fascinating look into the lives of Tom and Jesse Flowers, whose artwork forms a significant and tender connection between the two estranged brothers. Kristy Higby and Mark Flowers of Mountain Tea Studios in Asheville, North Carolina, have organized what promises to be a beautiful and intriguing exhibition of carefully selected works of art by the Flowers brothers as seen in the film. Off the screen and on the walls, exhibition visitors will have the unique opportunity to see and study these works in person, which is undoubtedly the best way to get a true sense of the art and all of its subtle nuances. Perhaps new observations will be made and shared, inciting an ongoing dialogue about artistic expression and sibling relationships.” -Liz Miller, Curator, Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapman Art Museum, Myrtle Beach, SC
Themes for Educational Programming:
- outsider art
- the ‘genetics’ of art
- the lost art of letter writing
- mental illness
- education granted/denied
- art as therapy
In addition to the impact of the Side by Side sequence in The Other Brother, the ‘connection’ between their art shows up in the shots of Jesse’s photographs beside Tom’s landscape paintings – I would say that comes from their ‘culture’ as raised in a place with access and appreciation for that landscape. After that it is all about the difference.
Their art in general is radically divergent. Jesse is, as is said, a natural. Everything in the external world that he sees and feels is incorporated into his inner fertility. His hand is direct and unrestrained, yet naturally disciplined. His art has a direct line back to the early cave dwellers. The ‘crowded’ characteristic of his surfaces is not really crowded, just insistent richness and an instinct that was unbounded by educated ‘taste,’ only the edge of the envelope or the edge of the paper or the need to insert an address brings it to a conclusion.
I would not say Tom is so much ‘contemporary’ as he is ‘educated.’ U of Iowa shows all over his work. Where Jesse was so dependent on what he felt, Tom depends upon what he learned. Jesse’s work is immediate; Tom’s is mediated by the world of art as understood by urban civilization and passed on through the educational process. Jesse is limited to just what his individuality allows, Tom expands beyond his own take on things. I found myself thinking Tom’s work ultimately might have been diluted by the expansion his education afforded him, but whatever, Tom’s is much broader in range than Jesse’s.
The best urban art usually gets to a higher place than the best primitive art. As a matter of ‘type’ I generally prefer urban art to primitive art. So Tom chose the more ambitious path. But it is a treacherous path and no sure thing. In the many direct comparisons the movie presents, my eye consistently went for Jesse’s work over Tom’s.” -John Link, Visual Artist, Art Educator, Art Critic
Mark and I would like to thank Liz Miller at the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach, SC, for her early support of the film and for lending her expertise in coordinating this exhibition.