Christina Twomey’s bouncing golden curls sparkle in the sun as she greets me outside her tree-lined Laurel Canyon home in the hills of Los Angeles. My next welcome is a bark from rescue pup Kazan, whose energetic tugs on the leash pull Twomey’s husband, former actor and producer (and current co-artist) Bobby Marsden, up the driveway. The birds are chirping, and the picture-perfect Minnesota couple exudes characteristic Midwestern warmth. Suddenly, the traffic, smog and pretension of downtown Los Angeles feel far away.
As any writer worth her salt would, I’d done my due diligence and researched the talented artist before our interview. Here’s what I knew: The 38-year-old Twomey is enjoying a successful career as a full-time fine artist working with resins and acrylics. Her artwork has appeared on the sets of such television shows as HBO’s Ballers. And she’s taken the art scene by storm, rapidly building a nationally recognized brand thanks to private commissions and online sales.
What I didn’t know is that her wildly popular artwork wasn’t inspired by a fancy art degree, nor hours of practice, nor a childhood spent doodling in notebooks. The secret sauce was simply this: She just started making things.
As her husband explains, “After we moved to Los Angeles in 2014, we looked around our apartment and realized we didn’t own any art. So Christina decided to purchase some canvas and paint, and see if she could make something.” When Marsden returned home after a work trip, he was stunned by what she had produced.
Had she ever painted before, I ask? “Well, I had always been creative in making PowerPoints for sales presentations,” she offers. With the encouragement of Marsden and her friends, Twomey launched an Etsy shop to monetize her new hobby. “Two weeks later, I sold a painting for $200,” she says. “I was jumping-on-the-bed ecstatic. I didn’t even make a profit, but it was one of the best sales I’ve ever made.”
For those unfamiliar with the world of fine art, creatives generally spend years — not weeks — establishing themselves. Twomey’s Cinderella story really began to take shape when, almost immediately, she was discovered by a curator. “Just two weeks after I sold my first painting, a curator from RAW Artists [an international talent platform for new artists] contacted me and invited me to showcase my work in their Hollywood show,” she notes. Twomey jumped at the opportunity.
A mere month after she started casually dabbling in painting, her creations were displayed front and center at a prestigious Los Angeles event space, hanging alongside the works of artists with years of experience and degrees to boot. That’s when Twomey and Marsden realized that the former saleswoman was no ordinary amateur.
Born and raised in Golden Valley, Twomey attended Breck then earned a degree in international relations at the University of Minnesota. Working multiple jobs to pay her way through school, she was no stranger to the grind of a side hustle. For the first few years as an artist, Twomey worked in her living room on nights and weekends when not on the clock for her day job at a consumer packaged goods company. Eventually, she transitioned her media from paint to resin, where her fresh, relatively untrained eye enabled her to create work unlike anything other artists were crafting. When you don’t know the rules, you make your own.
And with resin, her creativity shines. “I begin with a panel of wood, aluminum, copper or even plexiglass,” she explains. “Then I do a base color and layer different resins and materials over and over again until the multiple layers create a three-dimensional effect.” Each handmade piece represents a significant investment of time, as individual layers take some 12 hours to dry and 24 hours to cure. With the addition of precious metals, such as silver or copper foil, and a rainbow of inks, pigments and acrylics, Twomey creates abstract works that mimic and illuminate features of the natural world. “The colors respond differently to light,” she adds, “so every piece changes throughout the day depending on the quality of the light hitting it.”
Last year, Twomey made the leap and quit her day job to focus full-time on Christina Twomey Art + Design, which continues to grow at an astronomical pace. Collectors return to her over and over again for cohesive, calming custom art with absolutely breathtaking results. The brand has also become a go-to resource for interior designers across the country, like Minnesota’s own Martha O’Hara Interiors. Plus Twomey just received word that her artwork will appear on the next season of a certain acclaimed Apple TV+ hit (yes, that one) adorning the walls of a certain A-lister’s character’s luxe abode (yes, that one).
She has since expanded into driftwood and amethyst art objects, stunning decorative creations crafted from Santa Barbara driftwood studded with Brazilian amethysts, gold flakes and acrylics. “Everything we make is an exploration and a collaboration with our clients,” Twomey notes. And with her unique path to success as evidence, it’s clear that for collectors looking to invest in enduring, heirloom-quality art, anything with the Twomey touch is worth considering.