"We just want to get famous enough to meet Lena Dunham," say twin artists Taylor and Jazzmyn Barbosa. They may be joking, but it doesn't seem like too fantastic a dream; the Barbosa sisters' art is cut from the same vulnerable, whip-smart cloth as the star and creator HBO's Girls.
Individually, the twins create art that feels both deeply personal and widely universal, exploring the female form and emotional landscapes through their drawings, dioramas and animations. Their newest works will be on display in a collaborative show called You Made Me Different, which opens Saturday night with a reception that starts at 8 p.m. at Forest Room 5.
While the sisters are identical twins, their art is decidedly different. Jazzmyn's prints are often intimate, confessional pieces, combining stylized imagery with words that feel like short poems in the form of visual art. "Jazzmyn gets a bad rep sometimes for making work that's too personal, but that's what I like about it," says Taylor. "You can tell how funny and sensitive and smart she is by looking at what she makes." Phrases like "If you don't know where you want to go" and "Just wait and see" combine with bold colors and sincere drawings in Jazzmyn's fine art-meets-comic book-style prints. "I think using words in art can be really relatable," says Jazzmyn. "When I see words with drawings, it always reminds me of comics and makes me feel sentimental." Taylor's work, on the other hand, explores female form through dioramas, animation and expressive painted lines. "I think it's important to talk about the female experience," Taylor explains. "I like making images of women who are strong and independent, and how that can still mean being dependent on other women."
A lovely recent animation collaboration with Jordan Hagen called "It Was Nice Seeing You Today" uses Taylor's distinct style to show the simple act of a couple waking up and traveling through the day together. "I like how ambitious Taylor's art is," says Jazzmyn. "She is always pushing herself to try new things and to be inventive. Plus, she has her own voice and I think that is so cool."
The sisters started making art in high school, but it wasn't until college (they both are studying printmaking at the Metropolitan State University of Denver) that they started collaborating. "We work individually but near each other," says Taylor of their creative process. "The pieces are in conversation with each other the whole time, and then when we put it all together at the end, they aren't strangers."
Lena Dunham has four weeks to drop by!
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