Twins Sydnie and Haylie Jimenez Capture the Spirit of Adolescence
“Having a twin is kind of like a life hack, especially for an artist, because you always have someone who is learning and trying new things,” said Sydnie Jimenez about her twin sister, artist Haylie Jimenez. “I’ve got so much…what’s the word?”
“I know what you mean,” Haylie nodded with an affirming look.
“Motivation!” Sydnie exclaimed. “Having a sister or friend who’s a working artist in such close proximity is really big motivation.”
In conversation, Sydnie and Haylie bounce off each other’s energy, expressing boundless enthusiasm and admiration for the other’s practice. “We’re just gassing each other up now,” Sydnie laughed. While Sydnie works primarily in sculpture, Haylie excels in two-dimensional forms, whether that takes the shape of works on paper, animation, or painting on ceramic slabs. While the 24-year-olds have collaborated on works in the past, their recent two-artist exhibition at New Image Art in Los Angeles, “GIVE EM’ PLEASURE. GIVE EM’ HELL,” marked the first time they worked on large sculptures together.
Born in Orlando, Florida, and brought up in a small town in rural northern Georgia, the Jimenez sisters have always been inseparable. They started an art club in high school, graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and are even currently in residency together at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana. Despite working in different media, Sydnie and Haylie have developed complementary artistic styles, both heavily influenced by internet pop culture and reflective of their community of friends.
Their works often depict unnamed people of color as unique individuals. Wearing counterculture garb and with streaks of pink hair, facial piercings, and stick-and-poke tattoos that prioritize linework, the figures are amalgamations of people in the Jimenez sisters’ lives and the larger communities of queer and nonbinary people of color united through social media.
Among the latter is the tattoo community that Haylie is a part of, specifically the growing scene of self-taught artists creating space for those marginalized in the traditional environments that tend to cater predominantly to white cis men. Since Haylie tattoos her friends, it felt natural for her to draw tattoos on Sydnie’s sculptures in their Los Angeles collaboration.
With expressive works that reveal each depicted character’s disposition, Haylie and Sydnie show a sensitive interiority that may appear contradictory to the figures’ tough exteriors, but reflect a common experience that many can empathize with. “This is how I go through the world as a woman of color, on the defense,” Sydnie said. “But I want to show solidarity and that you can rely on some people in your community because you kind of have to for survival.”
At the center of their relationships, as seen through their oeuvre, are practices of care. Haylie’s work on paper Hold Me Close (2022) depicts a nighttime scene with fence-hopping and cans of White Claw, but in the middle of it all is a tender embrace between two friends, as one holds and consoles the other who sits on the curb crying.
The recurrence of and emphasis on pairs can be seen throughout Haylie’s drawings and in Sydnie’s sculptures. “If I have one sculpture, I’m like, ‘Oh, she looks so lonely, she needs a friend there with her to have her back,’” Sydnie explained. “I like to show them as pairs because I’m a twin, and I always have someone there for me.”