The Vera Twins Make Paradigm Shifting Art for a New Culture
We live in a moment of cultural synthesis. As old paradigms are disrupted, new forms of creativity bubble up to fill those voids. And the Vera Twins—artists Kelby and Kelvin—are producing just such work. Their paintings combine traditional art with pop culture, cartoons, anime, and politics, all while exploring issues of identity, ethnicity, and meaning through visual wit and sly humor. To learn more about how they’re pushing the culture forward, we recently met up with Kelby and Kelvin in SoHo to talk art, career, inspiration, and the simple pleasures of creativity.
When did you start to feel like your might be able to take your art to the next level, from a hobby to a career?
We knew we could take our art to the next level when we started noticing people noticing us. We were doing art for fun and started getting inquiries. We were just doing art for fun and realized we can make money off of it.
Where was your first show?
Our first show was at a skatepark. We didn’t have the funds at the time to get a better location but we worked with the venue, displayed our work there, and did a live painting.
We love how you guys combine more traditional art with input from pop culture, streetwear, and hip hop. Did you guys consciously make that your mission or did that mixture come to you more naturally?
It came from ideas we had in mind and collaborated on together. We usually plan things but the way the equality artwork came about was natural. We thought making our art pop and having a message would be a dope idea.
It seems like you both share responsibility for making your works, but do you ever have things you split up? Like is one of you better at some task or skill and the other is better at different one?
We usually work on the same piece together, at the same time. We’ll work on opposite sides and rotate the canvas. If one of us gets tired while painting the other will jump on that side and work on it. If we’re working on a canvas separately, you wouldn’t be able to tell which one of us did it.
You’ve been working with Set Free and the Compound gallery in the Bronx. Can you describe how that all happened?
We met Set Free through our photographer Sonny and we can’t thank him enough. Meeting Set Free was one of the best things that’s happened to us. He is one of the most genuine people we know. Working with him and having him as our manager now has been a really dope and overall life changing experience and opportunity.
What’s next for the Vera twins and your art?
We’d like to hit more galleries. We want to continue getting our art out there and building up our craft and creativity to be the best artists we can be. We want to show the world what he came here to do.