Twin sisters find second home in TCU School of Art


    During most weekends, twin sisters Alden and Briana Williams can be found in paint-splattered pants in one of the various art workshop rooms in Moudy North.

    Lauren Zimmerman, a senior ceramics major and friend of the sisters, joked and said, “Don’t you guys ever go home?”

    For junior art majors Alden and Briana, the TCU School of Art is considered their home. It is a place they spend most of their time together. Some of the students the twins work with said they probably spend more of their time in the art studio than at their home.

    The twins come from an artistic background. Their father works with pianos, their mother enjoys glass beading and working with metal and their younger sister Sydney is a sophomore ceramics major at TCU.

    “Art is a dynamic of our family,” Sydney Williams said.

    The twins also have a younger brother, but he is interested in sports Brianasaid.

    “He is breaking the tradition,” Alden said.

    The sisters are Fort Worth natives and said they have enjoyed art from a young age. Alden and Briana started their art careers and excelled in high school at the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts. After high school, both sisters admitted they originally did not want to attend TCU.

    “At first, when Alden and I were younger, we wanted to go to an art school just to do art,” Briana said.

    The sisters ended up at TCU because their father is a piano technician for the school of music and their family receives tuition benefits according to Alden.

    In the end, both sisters said they are very happy about being at the university versus being at an art school. They said they particularly like the small class settings.

    Alden said she enjoys the community of artists on campus. She said most days students bring their lunches and sit outside for a break in between classes and working on projects.

    The sisters also said they benefit from the well-rounded art major and opportunities to experiment within the art program.

    “We have a baseline of classes we have to take. It’s like a core within our major,” Alden said.

    Briana said the diversity of classes has allowed her to create a bunch of different reference points in her art. After being at the university, Alden said she believes in interdisciplinary studies because it is so important to have a lot of tools in one's toolbox.

    Both sisters decided on a sculpture emphasis after taking some of the baseline art classes in the art curriculum.

    “I was a painting major, but when I took 3-D and sculpture class, I felt that the material and the ideas that sculpture was dealing with fit more into my interest and my ideas,” Briana said.

    Like her sister, Alden also started out as a painter and decided on a sculpture emphasis, as well. She said she went into sculpture because it was a versatile program.

    Even though a sculpture emphasis and art are constants with the twins, it is also what sets them a part.

    “We might have similar interests, but once you get to know us, we are very different people,” Alden said.

    Associate Professor of Art Cameron Schoepp said that each of the sisters brings a unique talents to the table.

    “I think you can see the largest difference in our art and how we approach it," Briana said.

    For example, Briana said she likes to incorporate academic items in her art such as sociology and anthropology but that Alden is more interested in the aesthetic parts of art and takes a more formal approach.

    “It’s really interesting seeing how they approach art differently, especially since they are both sculpture majors,” Sydney said.

    Sydney said Briana is very conceptual, where Alden finds really ugly objects and turns them into something really beautiful.

    “This is going to sound weird, but I like to find things on the ground and look through garbage,” Alden said. “I like finding objects that I can implement in my artwork or just collect."

    Schoepp said that Alden relies more on instinct, which Alden confirmed, saying she could easily find inspiration from a wadded up paper towel on the ground.

    “I love materials. I like working with objects and making objects,” Alden said.

    Their friends enjoy getting to watch the sisters work together. 

    “It’s really fun to watch both of them work because they can be so different in the way that they do things, and yet they do everything together,” said Zimmerman. “They are so dedicated to what they do. They are both really passionate about art and it is fun to watch them work.”

    In their sculpture class the twins are worked on casting, which is an object made by pouring molten or other material in a mold. The twins have left traces of their art in Moudy North, and their past work can be seen throughout the hallways and classrooms of the art building.

    The sisters said they spend most, if not all, of their free time and weekends in Moudy North and most of their free time activities involve art. When they are not in the studio, Alden and Brian said they enjoy going to gallery openings and lectures on the weekends, too.

    "[The twins] set a high bar for everyone around them,” Schoepp said. “They do that not only with the work they produce but also with the number of hours and their constant presence in the studio and art department.”

    He said that the twins set benchmarks for people around them, and he likes to see that because it makes class more interesting.

    After graduating from TCU, the twins said they do not have concrete ideas about what they want to do even though they do have similar ideas and dreams for their future. They both said they intend on being involved in art, and they both hope to attend graduate school.

    Alden said that she would like to go overseas for grad school and to continue working on her art and showing at galleries.

    Briana said she would like to go overseas if it was possible as well.

    Because they are together most of the time and because they have a lot of the same interests, some people ask if these twins will ever separate.

    “I’m kind of hoping we split apart; it is something we need to do,” Briana said.

    The twins' younger sister disagrees.

    “I have a bet with my friends that five years is the maximum that they can be separated,” Sydney said. “They are separate people, but it’s like they can’t exist without each other. They coexist together."

    Although Alden and Briana are aware that they are not guaranteed to stay together forever, they know that they will always be connected by art.