Twin Spirits
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Doppelgangers of Art: Twin Spirits

Twins in Art

Back in May, there was a BBC story going around about a pair of identical twin artists who paint collaboratively. Something about the story captured my curiosity, and I watched the related video several times. The aspect I found most interesting was that they paint in unison on the same images—they work on large canvases, so there’s room for two—and appear to have the same internal vision for the art. Or at least that’s what I got from it. See what you think…here’s the video.

After seeing that video about twin artists Marina and Irina Fabrizius, I thought more about what it might mean to be—and have—a twin. I’m not a twin, but my mother (who passed away at the age of 88 in 2013) was one. She was not an identical twin, but a fraternal one. She and her twin had lived several states apart all my life, so I didn’t see them together very often. When one of our families would make the car trip to visit the other, I only noticed their differences. My mother was long and lean while her twin was short and heavy. My mother was quite reserved in conversation; her twin could talk your ears off. My mother was rarely confident about her own ideas, but my aunt had opinions. My aunt also belonged to clubs and groups, was into gardening, and initiated an active physical and social life for herself. My passive mother, despite wanting and needing company, waited for others to make plans for her because she found it difficult to initiate activities on her own.

I have often wondered if their differences were more subtle in their early years, but with time had become stronger in reaction to one another. Did these differing traits feed the opposite traits in each other? Was it possible that my mother grew quieter the more her twin monopolized conversations? Or was it the opposite? Did my exuberant aunt grow more verbose to fill the silence?

Still thinking about twins and art, I wanted to see what a web search might turn up. There was a year-old short W Magazine piece about four pairs of artist twins who all work in tandem. They hail from New Jersey, London, Sao Paolo and Transylvania: Four Sets of Artist Twins Taking Over the Art World

Then there are the London born twin artist sisters Amrit and Rabindra Singh.  In addition to being collaborative artists, they are published illustrators, writers and filmmakers. Here’s their online gallery of beautifully detailed miniatures.

What about twins in art?

The Sarafani Sisters are enrolled in a Studio Art program here in Boston. They mostly collaborate on portraits of each other, making them both twin artists and art subjects.

A simple Google search of “art images of twins” turns up all kinds of great images. Many of them, sadly, do not credit the artist. AHEM: There are tons of art images shared on Pinterest without crediting or linking to the artists who created them. If you share art on Pinterest, please credit the artist, and if at all possible, provide a link to them! It’s the right thing to do.

In a twist on twin art, photographer Francois Brunelle invited hundreds of unrelated couples who look remarkably similar to be his subjects for a photo project.

Last week, as I was delving into my look at twin art, a young woman came into my studio and got quite excited about my “Nocturnal Twins” print (the mirror image of orange cats at the top left of this post). How funny it was that I’d not even considered that I had made a twin image myself until she walked in and zeroed in on it. This visitor had two orange cats at home and the print reminded her of them. A lot. She bought the print and left me smiling in the wake of her enthusiasm. It was around then that it dawned on me that this is Gemini’s time of year, so it seemed only fitting that I write this post!

I know I’ve left a lot of artists and subjects out—Diane Arbus’ black & white photograph of two twin girls comes immediately to mind. Are there twin art or twin artists you find especially appealing? Please feel free to share them in the comments.

A Doubly Good Day to You!

Paula Ogier Artworks

This entry was posted in: Twin Spirits


Hi there. I’m Boston-based digital artist Paula Ogier. In this blog I write about about my art new works, projects in process, life in Boston, inspirations, ideas, and creative challenges. I live and work in Boston's South End neighborhood, in the enclave known as the SoWa Art + Design district. I'm fond of big cities, architecture, great imaginative spaces, food & drink, gardening, wandering around the city on foot, binge-watching well written shows, talking to cats, and of course, making and experiencing art. Artist website: Twitter: Paula Ogier Artworks My studio is at 450 Harrison Avenue, Studio 203.

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