THE KAPLAN TWINS: SEXY PROVOCATEUR SISTERS
Photography: VICTORIA INNOCENZI
Styling: MATTHEW HENSLEY
Makeup: HENDRA NASRIL
Hair: GEORGINA MENDIOLA
Who are The Kaplan Twins?
Both: We’ve always been The Kaplan Twins, but we only became The Kaplan Twins when we moved to LA two years ago. We’re twins…that one is a given. We’re also artists, influencers, and entertainers.
Can you tell me a bit about yourselves?
Both: We’re 24 years old. We grew up in New Jersey, went to college at NYU, and moved out to California when we graduated.
How did art get started for you?
Lexi: We’ve been drawing and painting since we were babies. We were never into sports. I remember we played soccer and we used to run away from the ball. We always just gravitated towards art and loved it.
Allie: We’ve been passionate about art our entire lives. It was always such an integral part of our lives, and we were always creating, even when we were younger. It was after we graduated college that we decided to pursue art as our full-time careers.
What is it like creating art together?
Lexi: People always ask us “How do you paint together? How do you do this?” It comes very naturally to us. We’re very in sync.
Allie: I think it’s more fun to paint and create art together. If there’s ever a time when I’m alone in the studio, I get a little lonely and I don’t have as much fun. When we’re painting, music is always blasting and it’s a very fun atmosphere.
Sharing art, social media and education background at NYU, can you guys be seen as individuals?
Lexi: It’s difficult sometimes because our brand weighs heavy on the fact that we are twins. So, if I go out alone, it doesn’t have the same effect without her being there. I also get separation anxiety because we are so used to being together. However, even on social media people are starting to be able to tell the difference between us. I think part of the fun and mystery is that people don’t know us individually.
Allie: It is weird when we go out without each other. I’ll introduce myself and say “Oh, I have a twin, and we’re artists and we paint together,” but the reaction is never the same as when we are together. We do have different personalities, and once you get to know us it’s easy to tell us apart.
In what way are you guys really different?
Lexi: We’re obviously very similar but once people get to know us, they always say they can tell us apart based on our personalities. We always say that Allie drives the car and I navigate. Allie is a bit more outspoken and scatterbrained. She always makes lists of stuff she needs to do, but will never actually use the list. I’m a bit more reserved and organized. I’m the one to be like ok let’s go…let’s get it done! Allie has the ideas, but I make it happen. We’re a great team.
Allie: I think I probably take charge more and am more outspoken. I’m also wilder and think of the crazy ideas. Lexi is a great problem solver. She’s very quick to think of solutions when we run into a problem. If I have an idea, she’ll know exactly how to execute it and make it happen.
Do you ever have to settle with one another on things involving your work?
Lexi: Definitely. We argue a lot and, unless it’s something I feel extremely passionate about, I’ll usually give in to Allie. She’s very stubborn. Sometimes, when I give in because I can’t argue anymore, she’ll realize I was actually right. I just use it to my defense the next time we argue.
Allie: I’m not that stubborn. I think we both are. We butt heads a lot. When we argue, one of us will always have to be the bigger person and step down. That sucks, but we can use it to our advantage in the next disagreement. If I let her win a fight, then I’ll usually win the next one. I know what is worth fighting about and what isn’t. I have to pick and choose my battles.
Can you tell us about your recent LA Exhibition “Make Me Famous”?
Lexi: Pop culture, celebrity culture, and Instagram culture influences a lot of our work. Our show introduced a series of oil paintings based on leaked celebrity nudes. We just really love to stir the pot and generate a conversation. We debuted paintings from pop culture moments, our unseen Playboy images, fun neons, and an interactive piece based on Emily Ratajkowski and Kim Kardashian’s infamous Instagram post. We just wanted people to have fun.
Allie: For us, a lot of what we paint are images or moments that are controversial or generate conversations. We like to include ourselves in the work and in the conversation as a way to take control of the narrative. We included our own naked selfies for the show as a way to empower the other women whose nudes were leaked. We also figured we’d be super hypocritical if we didn’t.
Has anyone’s reaction to your work surprised you?
Lexi: I don’t think there is much that can surprise us!
Allie: I’m not so much surprised, but more just incredibly excited about all of the positive reactions surrounding our work and what we’re doing. It’s really nice to see the support and know that all our hard work is paying off.
There is a lot of controversy over some of your work, such as “Boy Toys”, can you tell me more about this piece and the intent behind it?
Lexi: We were just thinking about Instagram and how people respond to our work, and the idea that sex sells. We started noticing that people responded better to the posts of artwork when we were also in the photo. So, it was just a moment of clarity. We said to one another “Ok, what can we do to get people talking and play with this idea that sex sells?” It was all very calculated and intentional, but the idea of the toys just came organically and ended up being so perfect for the idea.
Allie: We know our work is controversial and not everyone is going to agree with what we are doing. That’s a part of it though. We like to get people talking. We like to stir the pot and cause a little controversy. If people are talking, that’s when you know you have their attention. Whether the response is positive or negative, they’re engaged. That’s the goal.
What is the proudest moment of your career so far?
Lexi: I don’t think there is one moment. It’s crazy to think that we are not even two years into our career. I think I’m just most proud of the fact that we moved out here with a mission and dream, and with hard work and determination, we are making that happen.
Allie: We have accomplished so much in such a short amount of time and I’m proud of that. It’s also great when people come up to us and tell us that they’re fans and how much they love our work. So, the next time you see us, come up and say hi!
What is your dream project?
Lexi: My dream project would be to paint celebrities from life, and bring back the idea and status that art once had.
Allie: Yes. We would love to make it that sort of status symbol again, like how Leonardo painted the Medici family in Renaissance times. I can just imagine doing a family portrait for Beyoncé and Jay Z with their kids, and them hanging the painting above the fireplace in their home. That’s the ultimate dream project.
Top 3 favorite films?
Lexi: Omg this is so hard…I’m such a movie fanatic! I will literally watch anything. I think my 3 favorite genres are Romantic Comedies if I need a good cry, animated movies, or Sci-Fy/Thrillers. It depends on my mood.
Allie: Lexi has the worst taste in movies! She loves to not have to pay attention. I love Psychological Thrillers and really any type of thriller. I really like dark, twisted movies. Also, I love anything involving aliens and outer space. Memento, Interstellar, Girl Interrupted. I wouldn’t say those are top 3, but they’re some of my favorites.
Top 3 music in your playlist right now?
Lexi: I think we listen to so much music, because that’s all we do in the studio, so I can’t name just 3. Disco, Classic Rock, and Top Hits are my go-tos.
Allie: Disco on repeat. “I Love the Nightlife” by Alicia Bridges, “He’s The Greatest Dancer” by Sister Sledge, and “Got to be Real” by Cheryl Lynn.
Book you’re currently reading: Currently binge watching… Any advice you can give to any aspiring artists out there?
Lexi: I don’t really have the time to read unless I’m on vacation and I haven’t had a day to Binge watch a show in a while. I am really excited for Stranger Things! I think I’ll probably kill that in a day.
Allie: I just finished binge watching Narcos season 3. I’m also so excited for Stranger Things to come back to Netflix! I’ll probably finish that in a day.
If you’re going to have a book, what title would it be?
Lexi: How Make Me Famous Made Me Famous.
Allie: Keeping up with the Kaplan Twins.
If you will be given the chance and opportunity to help a specific charity, what would it be and why?
Both: Not many people know this, but we were diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease when we were in high school. So, we’d like to be more involved with charities that are dedicated to researching this disease and finding cures for it.