It's a twin thing
Rachel and Ashley English are figuratively joined at the hip. The Capilano University Business Administration students are identical twins and best friends. On the pros and cons of being identical, the sisters agree that it has its ups and downs.
“What I like is that I always have someone who’s there, a permanent go-to person right there whenever you need them,” said Rachel. “But there’s a huge amount of competition,” they said simultaneously.
They often finish each other’s sentences, and sometimes one of them will be thinking something that the other will say out loud. They reflected that most people they encounter expect them to be identical in all aspects of their lives.
If one sister achieves a higher grade, the other sister should be able to match stride for stride. On occasion, the sisters have pulled pranks on their hapless classmates by swapping clothing.
When they started working as hostesses at the Seymour Golf and Country Club, they had a bigger quandary wearing matching uniforms and working the same shifts.
The girls have owned snakes for most of their lives, having inherited a love of reptiles from their father. Their peculiar pets – a Bald Python named Sam and a Corn Snake named Houdini, delight some of their friends and make others recoil. In their spare time, the girls can usually be found painting.
They both admire the works of early 20th century abstract artists Piet Mondrian and Wassily Kandinsky, and also take inspiration from their snakes.
“Our abstract art is not as simple as a black dot on a canvas, it’s never simple,” said Rachel. “We’re very detailed with our art, it depends on the mood we’re in.”
Their work, like Kandinsky’s, experiments with shape and colour that makes for a stimulating visual effect. Mondrain’s work holds more structure, and reflects the early cubist movement. Depending on their mood, the girls will sometimes paint dark grids on white backdrops and fill the blank space in with vibrant colours, or they’ll drop all boundaries and paint from the music of their minds.
“I feel like I’m almost all over the place,” said Rachel. “I like abstract but other times it can be like landscapes or very real and detailed images.”
In high school they took different art classes. As part of one project, they each had to grab a cut up piece of a larger image from a bucket and sketch it out, and in the end the class would put the images together to create one 20-by-20-foot image.
The girls unknowingly chose the same images. At other times they’ve tried their hands at realism. When they do, they deviate to painting seascapes with towering dark waves or detailed depictions of human and animal eyes.
But art is subject to whim. One can’t always be inspired to paint a masterpiece in much the same way that one is subject to writer’s block and can’t produce a perfect paper on command. When they graduate, Rachel and Ashley are hoping to use their marketing skills to further their passion for creating art. Because who says you can’t do what you love while being practical?
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