Saturday, October 9, 2010

I, Violet. I, Daisy. Original Hilton Sisters Homage

I, Violet. I, Daisy. Painting on two joined pine boards, 16 x 18 inches. Click on image to see the details, varying from the woodgrain itself to almost fabric-like portions.

M Y   A R T — This painting is an homage to Violet and Daisy Hilton, the conjoined twins made famous in the 1930s. They appeared in the cult-classic film, Freaks, and they had a long career singing and dancing in Vaudeville and the legitimate sideshows so popular back then. They even tap danced in a Vaudeville act headed up by Bob Hope. They always referred to themselves as "I, Violet" or "I, Daisy." They each led quite a life, really overcoming their differences from other entertainers. They dyed their hair different colors, had different "suitors" and generally made the best of their lives, as we all hope we can do. 

The sisters were featured in a book I designed years ago, Shocked and Amazed, On and Off the Midway, by James Taylor and Kathleen Kotcher. if you click over to Amazon with this link, make sure you then click on "Look Inside." You'll see the final cover and several interior pages of this black and white book. For some reason, the cover shown on the first Amazon link is an earlier version that didn't make the cut.

My thoughts behind my piece of art are very simple. Violet and Daisy both felt trapped in their attached bodies. They adored each other, but felt boxed in. They loved fine clothes, fine surroundings, but often found themselves on the seedier sides of towns they visited on tour. I painted the flowers in squares, a pseudo polaroid for Violet, and three repetitive boxes for Daisy. They each have their own pine board, but the 2 pieces of wood are joined together. There is a lot of finely detailed painting, dots, stripes, repeated patterns, almost fabric like in places, but much of it appears worn. They couldn't hide their perceived "flaws" and neither can this piece—I left the knots in the wood clearly visible and there is much of the grain of the wood to be seen as well. The colors are similar on each board, but not exact matches, and I was careful to make sure none of the stripes actually cross from one board to another. They valued highly their differences, as most people tended to only see their similarities. I'm proud to say this piece hangs in my friend Mary's home today.

For more on these fabulous sisters, the original Hilton sisters, click over to this link at Wiki.


  1. Brilliant! One of your best.
    You captured the essence of their lives together, yet managed to illustrate the differences that made them unique.




  3. Wow, I can't even imagine being conjoined. I've lived alone since the early '70's, well except for those kids that kept hanging around, I guess the baby ran off to college in '81 or 82. The thought of having to share air space with anyone let alone body space............whew. Really would take strong personalities to be yourself. Might be an interesting read.

    Interesting piece Casey.

  4. SO interesting! I love your interpretation of their lives through your art.
    I also appreciate you sharing your thought process on it...I realize we each need to interpret art for ourselves, but I do love to know what the artist was thinking and what the original intent was.
    (hi X, Granny, AA!)

  5. Hi everybody! Hope your all having a great day!