Lenexa is gearing up for another Kid Makers Market, and twin sisters Lila and Avery O’Hara, who run an Etsy page, are ready to sell their custom artwork.
This year’s Kid Makers Market marks at least the fourth time the 14-year-old girls from Lenexa have participated. In fact, the event is their inspiration behind launching a digital shop on Etsy and sharing their artwork with a larger audience.
“It’s really nice ‘cause it’s what first kickstarted our want to make art to sell, and just more often,” Lila said.
Last summer, the twins launched Willow Tree Artistry on Etsy, just after they turned 13 and were old enough to open the shop.
The rising freshmen are headed to St. James Academy this fall.
While both young ladies are artists, they have developed their own niche specialties. They’ve dabbled in combinations of pen and ink, markers, charcoal, watercolor and other media.
Now, Avery mostly uses pen and ink and some charcoal.
“My art has definitely evolved; it’s matured with me and became more of my own,” said Avery, noting that she has drawn more original pieces lately. “I find my art reflects my revolving interests. Like, right now, what I’m really into is fashion: Old, vintage fashion pictures. I’ve just been loving those, and this old fashion style where sometimes the features are really exaggerated or just that general pen style.”
Lila’s specialties are in calligraphy and digital art, although she still enjoys using pen and ink and colored pencils. She hopes to change people’s perceptions about digital art because this art form is sometimes seen as easier or less impressive.
“I remember always being so impressed, like if I see an artist and their pieces, so I want to be that for another young girl or anyone really, like, ‘Wow, that’s really cool, I wish I could do that,’” Lila said.
In some ways, the girls take after their mother, Dominique O’Hara, who enjoyed creating art and went to school for graphic design. Right now, she’s helping her daughters with the business side of things. But she has been an inspiration for Lila, and Avery enjoys looking at their mother’s old artwork.
“Mostly, I’m just proud of them because I think God gave them this talent, and I’m happy that they’re putting it to use,” Dominique said.
Leading up to the Kid Makers Market this weekend, the O’Hara sisters brought out their artwork, pointing out pieces that took a long time and others that they really enjoyed creating. Avery said some pieces, especially with colored pencil, can take a long time for them to finish.
“It gives you less freedom because it’s not like you can erase it or really cover it up very well,” Avery added. “But there’s also that sense of abandonment when it comes to it. You can really just freehand, do whatever you want with it, create all of these different textures.”
The sisters shared how they used to be rather competitive with each other, but as they’ve grown up and developed their Etsy business, they have found their own artistics styles and even tag-teaming on some projects together.
“Those are always some of my favorites,” said Avery.
For instance, they recently completed a “Hail, Mary” piece for their aunt. They often take inspiration from their Catholic roots to create religious art pieces.
As their Etsy business grows, the O’Hara sisters are taking more custom art requests, including for portraits and calligraphy pieces.
“For me, my art for the shop isn’t as personal, so when I’m putting this out there to sell it, I want the goal to be, somebody’s going to have this in their house or give it as a gift, and it’s going to be admired or loved, it’s going to be put to good use,” Avery said.
Lila noted that she also loves reading positive reviews from their Etsy customers.
“That just makes me feel like, I did that, I made them feel happy in the moment,” Lila said.