Creativity Arkansas: Higgins Bond

From the Creativity Arkansas Collection: “Frederick Douglass,” pencil on illustration board, is by Higgins Bond. This piece is part of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center’s Creativity Arkansas Collection, acquired in 2014. The collection began in 2008 and showcases artwork created by African American artists with a connection to Arkansas and celebrates the history of the state through vivid works in a variety of media.

A Little Rock native, Higgins Bond received her BFA in Advertising Design from the Memphis College of Art and not long after began her career at a Park Avenue advertising agency in New York City.

Following the birth of her son, she became a freelance artist and has since illustrated 39 books. She has produced work for Anheuser Busch, The Franklin Mint, Hennessy Cognac, The Bradford Exchange and NBC TV. She has also left her mark in history, as the first African American woman to illustrate a stamp for the United States Postal Service.

She has received many awards, including a medal of honor from former Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton and the Ashley Bryan Award for outstanding contributions to children’s literature. She has exhibited her work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and the DuSable Museum of African American Art in Chicago. She was also given the honor of illustrating the 30th anniversary edition of Alex Haley’s “Roots: The Saga of An American Family.”

Over the years her creative passions have changed and her desire is to use her craft to create art inspired by African American history, nature and wildlife. Higgins Bond says, “I don’t seek just to document nature and wildlife…but rather to illuminate God’s creations and African American history in a way that crosses that difficult but arbitrary barrier between fine art and commercial art.”

Bond changed her name for artistic endeavors. “All through art school, I signed my work with my maiden name ‘Higgins’, because ‘Barbara’ (my first name) was one of the most popular names at the time. Using last names was less confusing. But when I got married in my final year of college, I went back and added my new name to all my work. The professional name ‘Higgins Bond’ has stuck with me ever since.” Visit her website for contact information.