Bold, bright and intricate – the work of Two Faced Twins immediately grabs your attention.
But their back story and how they create this striking work is almost as interesting as the art itself.
We chatted to them about how the business has evolved, what its like working with your sister and the future.
Teaming up for the first time
Two years ago identical twins Gem and Stella quit their full-time jobs and decided to team up to create contemporary artwork.
They came from very different backgrounds.
Stella has a BA in illustration. She would spend hours in her local cafe, sneakily drawing people queuing for their coffees.
Gem attended Northbrook the same year as Stella but studied fashion and textiles. When she moved to China in 2014 she was inspired by the traditional dress and brightly-coloured buildings and temples.
However, in 2016 the twins decided to combine their skill sets and build an art business of their own.
“I think at the start we both had quite different ideas of what we wanted the business to be and to look like,” says Gem.
“Originally, I wanted to have our ‘identical twin thing’ as a big part of our brand.
“Buying identical wigs for each other and styling us to look exactly the same created a lot of attention for us, which was brilliant.
“But Stella found it quite difficult because she has always wanted us to be seen as individuals, rather than the same person.
“It was too much of an effort for her to dress up into effectively a different person all the time.
“So, we eventually decided it would be easier to scrap the wigs and just be ourselves.”
From abstract to Pop Art
Having started out featuring themselves in their art, the Two Faced Twins have gradually evolved their pieces, drawing inspiration from Pop Art and Brighton itself.
“Our first series of artwork was based on ourselves.
“Illustrations of our faces intertwined together and digitally manipulated. These pieces were all very colourful and abstract.
“Gradually we started experimenting with illustrating different subjects such as typical kitchen and homeware, for example, ketchup bottles, teapots, coke bottles.
“This series was inspired by Pop Art and is definitely one of our favourite bodies of work.
“Our latest series consists of large illustrations of the streets of Brighton which has been our most popular series so far.”
Combining different skills
As their subjects have evolved so has the way Gem and Stella work.
“In the beginning we were trying really hard to produce large drawings and paintings together, but this never worked out because we both have such different styles and ways of working.”
Gem is more digital and loves to add colour to her artwork. In contrast, Stella works with fine liner pens and her drawings are very much black and white without much use of colour.
“So eventually, we tried combining our different skills which worked out really well for us.”
Stella starts by illustrating the subject and then she passes the drawing onto Gem who works on it digitally, adding layers and colour.
“We then hand embellish our originals, working together to add layers of gloss paint and diamond dust.”
This collaborative way of working has produced some stunning results, although working with a sibling isn’t without its challenges.
“Working together is fun in many ways, but it can also be a struggle at times because one of us has to take the role as the leader,” says Gem.
“This is usually me, and because Stella is my sister, I feel I speak to her in a way that I wouldn’t necessarily speak to someone else.
“Sometimes I get grumpy if we haven’t met our goals and I won’t hold back in making that clear.
“Whereas if she was purely my business partner, I wouldn’t be as direct and forceful.
“It can be difficult to separate the two roles. Are we twin sisters, or are we business partners?
“I definitely think that is the toughest part.”
Bold yet intricate
Stella and Gem’s unique way of working may be interesting but it is their bold final products which really make them stand out.
“We have had a really positive reaction, to our latest series of artwork especially.
“Our artwork has always been noticed for its bold, bright colours and quirky, intricate line drawings.
“We have never been afraid of pushing the boundaries when using colour and people enjoy that.
“There is a lot of fascination around how we create our artwork as a pair.
“People really like the story behind our work and how we work together as a team.”
As well as selling pieces from their series, the twins also offer a bespoke service.
“When we are asked to create a bespoke piece of artwork, we create it in exactly the same way as we would any of our other pieces.
“We have a specific routine that works for us and it is the way we create a really great piece of work.”
Stella will illustrate the subject matter and Gem will take over from there by creating a design and using colour to transform it, ensuring the finished piece meets the customer brief.
They each have different favourite pieces.
Gem has very fond memories of creating Too Much Tea.
“I remember having a lot of fun together, adding all of that diamond dust and gloss,” she says.
“We really went for it on that piece and I think it looks very artistic and I love the pop art feel to it. The colours are to die for and it’s just so pretty and glittery!”
Stella’s favourite piece is Nautical buoys because the illustration is filled with character and quirkiness.
So what does the future hold for Two Faced Twins?
“We want to carry on creating artwork together for the foreseeable future.
“We want to become a well-known artist duo for designing and making artwork for contemporary homes and spaces.
“There are many ideas in the pipeline for new bodies of work and we are excited to see the reaction to them.
“We have recently brought out a homeware range which includes coasters, placemats, chopping boards and greetings cards.
“We want to gradually expand our homeware range and sell these alongside our artwork.
“Our aim is to have our artwork in multiple galleries around the UK and to continue to sell our work online and through art events and exhibitions.”
Two Faced Twins
To view more work by Two Faced Twins visit www.twofacedtwins.com.
Gem and Stella also sell a lot of artwork through their Instagram page for a more personal touch.
They are currently taking part in Worthing Artist Open Houses where their artwork and homeware can be viewed and is on sale.