How to become creative geniuses with identical twins Fa and Fon Watkins
It’s all in the genes…
It’s hard to pin down exactly what Fa and Fon Watkins do. You’ll hear them referred to as content creators, graphic designers, creative directors and visual designers. In fact, they were the creative masterminds behind our #NoNonsenseHustle campaign. They model, make clothes, take photos and do styling. They direct music videos, conceptualise editorials and create brand campaigns for the likes of Fila, Nike and Converse. However you define what they do, it slaps.
The twins, who moved to the UK from Thailand when they were seven, have both been fascinated by art and design since childhood. Not only did they enjoy drawing, painting and generally creating things themselves, they were also keen to learn about other artists and designers.
Their interest brought them to London to study at Central Saint Martins but it was the work they were doing in their spare time that got them where they are today. “I learned to approach opportunities by myself and not rely on the name of Central Saint Martins to get them for me. I also learned how to multitask and juggle work outside of uni. Your studies are important, however you need to start networking and gaining as much industry experience alongside your uni work as soon as possible – as soon as you leave uni you are on your own,” Fon told Scarlett Baker for LOVE.
One such project was a film and performance installation called ‘Our mother who fed us rice’, which was commissioned by Home Gallery in Manchester in 2018. An homage to their Thai heritage and the women who raised them, it was a deeply personal piece for the Watkins sisters.
Their background continues to influence their work today, in terms of traditional Thai artistry and contemporary art, as well as their experiences living in both Thailand and the UK. Their biggest inspiration, though, is Asian pop culture, having grown up reading Manga and watching plenty of anime. All of these aspects combine to create their semi-surreal, retro-futuristic aesthetic.
The diversity you see in their work also stems from London’s creative scene itself. “The art scene is obviously very very big in London and everyone’s really supportive of one another. The other thing is that the art scene and the design scene and the music scene and the fashion scene are all are linked. They all overlap into each other and that helps you produce a more diverse and more intuitive piece of work because you can collaborate with anyone,” they explained in an interview for GUAP TV. “It’s a good place to experiment and grow as an artist.” We can’t wait to see what they do next.
What does your job involve?
It involves a lot of things, but we are mainly art directors. We also cover the grounds of photography and graphic design.
How did you establish yourselves?
We went to Art and Design Uni but during that time we were working part time and doing a lot of networking and following a lot of people around doing shoots kind of trying everything.
Has your social following helped further your careers?
Our social media has helped us a lot to get opportunities, we have gotten a lot of clients and met a lot of people from it, so we are very grateful.
What’s it like working with your twin?
It’s great working together! We are kind of opposites of each other so we can tell and give each other feedback that’s really honest and to the point, we riff off each other.
What influences your creative work?
A lot of things, Anime, pop culture. A lot of things around us so different designers as well, personalities and we have a few muses as well so it’s very much down to personality and everything around us.
What guidance would you give someone trying to get into the industry?
Be true to yourself, never back down because even if you go against your ethos and everything and you’re thinking about the money at the time, even though that is important, but later on down the line it’s all about fate and you never know what’s gonna happen so just be true to yourself, be strong and stick to your guns.
What’s the most helpful piece of career advice you’ve been given?
Think of yourself as a business, so think of yourself as a brand and then think of yourself as a professional rather than put yourself down.