(L-R) Work in Progress by Lisa and Lori Lubbesmeyer, Quiet Light by Lisa and Lori Lubbesmeyer, Grass and Stream by Lisa and Lori Lubbesmeyer)
Artists and identical twins Lisa and Lori Lubbesmeyer have shared a business and a studio space for more than two decades. As collaborative artists, Lisa and Lori both work on a single piece at the same time, but without a specific plan for the composition or timeline of the final product. The twins will alternate working on the piece one at a time, typically between 15 and 20 times per project.
When the pandemic first hit and mandated shutdowns swept across the country, the Lubbesmeyers closed their studio and gallery for several weeks and took time to reconfigure their business to follow COVID-19 safety protocols. In order to respect social distancing measures during the time the studio was closed, the twins would each take a week to work in the studio alone, while the other worked from home.
Tackling the Pandemic as Artists
“Prior to the pandemic, we had never alternated time at the studio unless we were taking separate time away for travel,” said Lisa. “The first couple of weeks, we were actually feeling a sense of calm — probably in reaction to how the entire community had slowed down.”
Lisa explains that the studio’s first priority was implementing new practices to keep each other safe, so the artists could continue working together. “We were finding ways to be safe while working, knowing that we couldn’t do one without the other,” said Lisa. “We had no question in our minds about continuing to move forward with our work, because creating art has been our way of coping with stress for our entire lives.”
The Lubbesmeyers continued this pattern of alternating time in the studio until they had a better understanding of how the virus was being spread, and how they could safely work together again. What resulted from their time collaborating artistically while working independently was a body of work using multimedia and fiber, an interesting byproduct of these unprecedented times. “In the early stages of the pandemic, we staggered our time while still working on collaborative fiber paintings,” explained Lisa.
“We were grateful to notice the fiber paintings and multimedia work we were creating through our collaboration begin to take on an even greater meaning in our relationship,” said Lori. “They quite literally became the fabric of our connection.”
What’s Next for Studios and Galleries?
With shows and exhibits canceled or postponed, the Lubbesmeyer Art Studio calendar has opened up. Lisa says initially she and her sister were concerned about how their business would weather the pandemic, but it didn’t take long for those feelings to shift. The twins found that without imposed deadlines and with reduced public hours, they had the chance to dive deep into work and projects that they had imagined for years.
“Our change in hours has allowed us entire days to focus on our art or provide more in-depth visits for our clients,” said Lisa. “After all we’ve been through and the decades of work and sacrifice, there wasn’t a chance we were going to let a virus finish our business. Today we are working happily, feeling greater conviction than ever before and feeling energized to continue for decades to come.”
The Lubbesmeyers’ art is largely known for its depiction of landscapes, though some of their latest pieces have a narrative reflecting community and connection. In addition to the fiber art that resulted from this time, the twin artists are utilizing more traditional fine art media, including paint, pastel, chalk, printmaking, fabric and stitching.
“It’s satisfying to be at a point in our careers where we have the ability to experiment with and implement tools we used decades ago when we studied fine art,” said Lisa. “The pandemic has given us a clearer view of what’s important in our lives, and we’re now much more insistent that we spend the majority of our time creating art. Expanding and using additional media in our artwork offers us a nimble and dynamic way to react to our life experiences, which will in turn offer our clients and art collectors a variety of pieces to choose from.”