Twin sisters paint a picture of collaboration with mural business


Bryce Towle

Artists Lynsay Christensen, left, and Hayley Harris, right, pose for a photo in front of their newly painted mural on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, at girlsgirlsgirls Burritos in Lexington, Kentucky.

Olivia Walton, Reporter

Twin sisters and painters Lynsay Christensen and Hayley Harris recently finished their largest mural to date: the entire front of girlsgirlsgirls Burritos, a local restaurant in Lexington, Kentucky.

“(girlsgirlsgirls) has been there for over three years in that location,” Harris said. “Now they have an actual presence.”

Christensen and Harris have worked together as artists since they were old enough to experiment with different mediums. Now, the Glasgow, Kentucky, natives run Studio Mel Designs, a small mural painting business. This is in addition to both sisters being mothers and holding full-time jobs.

The twins credit their mother, Melanie Norman, with encouraging both their artistic abilities from a young age. She took them to their first art classes and has supported their growth ever since.

“Our mom, who our design business is named after, she always really provided us support to be artists growing up,” Christensen said.

Both women said that collaboration between them has always been natural.

“We’ll start a piece and pass it back and forth to each other,” Harris said. “We’re so game at collaborating together. We always have.”

Christensen echoed her twin’s statement.

“We’ve been doing it since art studio days,” she said.

Both Christensen and Harris graduated from the University of Kentucky with degrees in integrated strategic communication, and both went back to school for additional education. Christensen continued with graphic design, while Harris earned degrees in art education and art studio.

The sisters secured full time jobs, both within their respective area of education, but still felt the need to create.

The idea for mural painting came two years ago after both Harris and Christensen painted murals in their homes, documented their work and got positive feedback from others. From there, they saw the potential for their business.

“We’ve always done side projects, just not always to this scale,” Christensen said.

The twins said Studio Mel took off almost instantaneously.

“The moment we listed we were doing murals, we got calls to do residential stuff, pretty much immediately,” Harris said.

Their natural collaboration has been important to both sisters. They said it makes the work more enjoyable and fun knowing that the other person is always there for support.

“We have just a lot of fun together hanging out,” Christensen said. “There’s a lot of dancing … lot of dancing.”

Since Studio Mel’s establishment, the twins have completed many projects together, including murals in entryways, bedrooms, bathrooms, dining rooms and school hallways. They have done a few garage doors as well, and now, the face of a building.

Christensen explained that when approaching a project of any size, it is important to think about several factors.

“We usually think about the composition and how it’s going to best work on the surface,” she said. “Most of our work is more organic, colorful.”

Harris added that the process is always a developing thing.

“A lot of it you just learn as you grow,” she said.

Christensen said their job is challenging, but it is amazing to see the finished product. She took her family to see the girlsgirlsgirls mural when they finished it and said that her kids got a lot of happiness from her work.

Harris said she is glad to see female art in the spotlight.

“It’s important to see women represented,” she said. “It’s fun to see women artists do something large.”

Furthermore, Harris said that it is encouraging to see art being celebrated on a local level.

“It’s so reassuring when art is appreciated because we’ve grown up making art to tell a story about ourselves or how we feel and be expressive and when people see something that we’ve created and they find joy in the work, it just has that feeling that…” Harris said.

Christensen finished her sister’s sentence. “…It’s an incredible feeling,” she said.