Meet Lake Mary’s most colorful twin sisters – Devon and Lexi Fulmer – professional chalk artists who share an unbreakable bond and unique talent. Flip to page 38 to read the charming story by Jill Duff-Hoppes about how this duo has successfully managed to merge a passion for art and entrepreneurship into a thriving business, creating beautiful artwork for all to enjoy.
“Wow!” “Beautiful!” “Awesome!“ “That is insane!”
These are just a sampling of the glowing reviews from passersby who stopped to watch Devon and Lexi Fulmer create chalk art at a recent trade show in Orlando. Lexi and Devon – also known as the Chalk Twins – are identical twins and professional chalk artists with an unbreakable sibling bond.
Not only are they identical, they’re what is referred to as “mirror-image twins.” Devon is right-handed, while Lexi is left-handed, a curiosity shared by only about 25 percent of identical twins.
The sisters, 27, live together near the Sanford-Lake Mary border. Neither can recall a time when art wasn’t part of their lives. Nor can they imagine a future without it.
“I’ve always had a crayon in my hand,” says Devon, the eldest by two minutes. “We’ve always, always enjoyed drawing.”
“Or watching people draw,” Lexi adds. “I’d always ask people to draw me something.”
Now, they’re the ones drawing for other people’s enjoyment. The twins create jaw-dropping chalk art to entertain audiences at “fandom” conventions and trade shows around the country. Self-professed nerds, Devon and Lexi enjoy working at conventions for fans of anime shows, science-fiction, comic books, and other genres. Their artistic subject matter ranges from huge renderings of anime and video game characters to spaceships to comic book heroes and villains. They also compete as a formidable team at outdoor chalk art festivals, known as street-painting events. There, the sisters draw large-scale reproductions of master artworks or create their own compositions.
The Chalk Twins think of themselves as performance artists. Festival-goers and convention attendees are welcome to watch while the sisters create eye-popping masterpieces. As they work, the siblings good-naturedly field questions about their artwork, twin trivia, and random topics.
They tend to dress alike while performing, but not otherwise. One way Lexi and Devon express their individuality, even when wearing matching clothes, is with funky hair colors. Devon sports a cascade of purple curls, while Lexi opts for a swath of green.
Their parents – Alan and Patricia Fulmer – encouraged them to remember that although they’re twins, they are not one and the same. They’re individuals, each with her own personality.
“We have a really close bond,” Devon says, “but I think it is because we were allowed to be different people.”
Besides art, the sisters have other shared interests, including tennis and volleyball. Yet, they’re hardly carbon copies of each other.
“I’m more outgoing socially. Devon is more reserved,” Lexi says.
Devon concurs, adding, “Lexi’s always the one who says, ‘Come on, we need to go hang out with people and have a drink or something.’”
As for work, Lexi says, “Devon is more determined and so much more organized than I am.”
Devon chuckles, saying it falls to her to keep the team “on task.”
Their interest in chalk art began during high school. The twins entered their first street-painting contest at age 16 while attending school in Winter Park. To date, they’ve racked up 16 awards out of 20 chalk art contests they’ve entered.
Both Devon and Lexi belong to the Florida Chalk Artists Association, whose members mentored them early on. Two of the girls’ instructors, Dale Wayne and Shelly Bradon, were also positive influences.
“I really feel like we wouldn’t be where we are without our high-school art teachers,” says Devon, explaining that she and Lexi were encouraged to experiment and “work large.”
Now retired, Dale describes her former students as smart, talented, and hardworking.
“They’re really skillful, and they’re both tenacious,” says the Altamonte Springs artist. “Both have the will to take things above and beyond.”
Shelly, a chalk artist herself, describes the siblings as ambitious, yet approachable about their artwork.
“They have been relentless in pushing themselves to get better and better,” she says. “They just love art, and they want everyone else to feel the same way.”
After graduating from high school, Lexi and Devon attended Furman University in South Carolina. They roomed together, studied in Italy for a semester, and earned bachelor’s degrees in studio art.
The duo went into business as working artists soon after college with help from their entrepreneur father. In addition to chalk art contests and conventions, Devon and Lexi work as a pair on commissions and corporate projects. The twins donate 10 percent of their earnings to charity, usually to groups that give back to the arts community.
Their largest chalk project so far was a 1,000-square-foot drawing of Monopoly board images. Created for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, the artwork took seven hours to complete.
Because they chalk as a team, Devon and Lexi are able to tackle more challenging projects than they could do separately. Before an event or competition, the sisters do a lot of prep work at their home studio. Once on site, they jump in and start drawing and blending their beautiful rainbow of chalk hues with confidence and without much chitchat between them. Their seamless workflow often prompts onlookers to ask, “Can you read each other’s minds?”
No, Lexi says, “It’s because we plan it out beforehand.”
They typically divide the workload according to each sister’s strengths and expertise. Because Devon works a little faster, she often tackles large sections of the background. Lexi spends time getting the details of a piece just right. Devon is good at making clothes and other fabric look realistic, while Lexi excels at faces, hands, and skin tones.
“We like working together,” Lexi says. “I feel like our style is mostly the same. People usually can’t tell who did what. We try to split it up so it won’t be too noticeable of a difference.”
The next few months are shaping up to be busy ones for the Chalk Twins. They plan to teach a summer chalk art camp for kids at their former private school. Both women strive to be role models for children and young adults who share their passion for art. The sisters will also perform live this spring and summer at conventions in Alabama, New York, Ohio, and South Carolina, with more to come. That means lots of long car trips and overnight stays in hotels.
At times, all their sisterly togetherness – at home, on the road, and at work – can wear thin.
“We start snipping at each other, but it doesn’t ever last too long,” Lexi says. “Out of necessity, or when we just forget about it, it’s in the past.”
Also, Devon adds, “We’re okay with comfortable silences, so I feel like that helps us not get on each other’s nerves. We can be in the same space but doing different things.
“We’re each other’s best friend, too,” Devon says, glancing at Lexi. “So, it’s nice to have someone to share experiences with.”
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