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Bringing Whimsy to Bay State Road

Daria Lugina (CFA’19, CAS’19) transforms brownstone doors with revolving art project

On any given week, you may have glimpsed Snoopy, Chihiro Ogino from Spirited Away, or the Corpse Bride gazing out at you from the doors of 200 and 202 Bay State Road. The brightly painted characters are the work of Daria Lugina (CFA’19, CAS’19), who started the popular installation art project on a whim.

In high school, Lugina volunteered at the local library, where the staff painted the windows in the children’s room with illustrations from picture books, like Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. She found the process calming and enjoyed watching the children’s reactions when they saw their favorite characters drawn larger than life.

Painting of Snoopy on door

Lugina decorated the door of 200 Bay State Road with an image of Snoopy from Charles Schultz’s A Charlie Brown Christmas during the holidays. Photo courtesy Daria Lugina

Now a painting and English double major and a computer science minor, Lugina lives in the Trustee Scholars House at 200 Bay State Road. During her first year at BU, the house residents decorated their brownstone for Halloween, and she came up with the idea of painting the door with the title character from the 2005 film Corpse Bride. “We got such a good response from it,” she says, “that I’ve been doing it ever since, about once a month.”

Lugina, who plans to pursue a career in animation or interactive design, takes her inspiration from cartoons and popular culture. She particularly enjoys painting Disney characters—like Rapunzel from Tangled, Lilo and Stitch, and Mickey Mouse—which are also the favorites of her littlest fans.

“A lot of kids come down the street and get excited when they recognize the cartoons,” she says. And while plenty of children go wide-eyed in wonder, “college students are equally excited. I’ve definitely seen people take pictures—and they weren’t always five. It’s a nice way to get art out into the community.”

Lugina finds the process as rewarding as the admiration. “It’s a relaxing thing to do at the end of the week, and it’s fun for me,” she says. She paints the doors to music on Fridays, using acrylic paint mixed with dish soap so the illustrations wash off easily with water, leaving a clean surface for her next creation.

Lara Ehrlich can be reached at lehrlich@bu.edu. Bill Politis can be reached at bpolitis@bu.edu


6 Comments on Bringing Whimsy to Bay State Road

  • Steve Morash on 02.28.2017 at 7:18 am

    Great story about a talented painter. What’s the name of the program she uses on the iPad?

    • Lara Ehrlich on 03.08.2017 at 11:06 am

      Thank you for your comment, Steve! The iPad program is called ProCreate.

  • Catherine Caldwell-Harris on 02.28.2017 at 7:44 am

    Wow. really enjoyed the video and learning about this young artist. It was eye-opening and a learning experience to see her at work, painting the doors and also painting on the ipad (I didn’t know that was possible — to use the same tool for all color,of course, using her thumb to select the color). What a wonderful sharing, spirit she has.

    I really liked the photo near the end showing a Muslim woman with hand entwined with a sister figure posed as the Statue of Liberty. Could other studnets be inspired to take on projects that contribute to community enjoyment?
    One thing about the BU Today headline — “whimsy” is too trivial-sounding a word for what this student is doing.

  • Jim in New Orleans on 02.28.2017 at 11:50 am

    Way to go, Daria! You help bring light to the world on a daily basis. Keep shining your light.

  • Laurie on 03.02.2017 at 12:58 pm

    I am a BU alum and lived at 199 Bay State Road for 4 years. It is a beautiful place to live and thank you for contributing to its beauty and spreading your art. That’s what makes BU so special. People adding their talents to make it a wonderful community for everyone.

  • LarryO on 03.20.2017 at 10:32 am

    I’ve been driving down Bay State Road every day on my way to work for many years now, and never noticed these door paintings. Yes, paying attention to my driving probably had a lot to do with that! I finally spotted these doorways on a slow drive the other day, and I’m glad to see this artwork that adds a little more beauty to the already scenic Bay State Road. I hope to see many more wonderful Daria creations over the next few years!

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