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Daria’s Doors

By Lara Ehrlich

Banner image: When painting her brownstone’s door, Daria Lugina (’19, CAS’19) takes her inspiration from cartoons and popular culture. She particularly enjoys painting Disney characters, like Mother Gothel from Tangled. Photo by Cydney Scott

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 (’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 react when they saw their favorite characters drawn larger than life.

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

Daria's doors

Lugina’s doors have included (from left) Rapunzel from Tangled, Chihiro Ogino from Spirited Away, and the rose from The Little Prince. Courtesy of Daria Lugina

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 & 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. While plenty of children go wide-eyed in wonder, “college students are equally excited,” Lugina says. “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.”

She 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,” says Lugina, who paints the doors to music on Fridays. She uses acrylic paint mixed with dish soap so the illustration easily washes off with water, leaving a clean surface for her next creation.

In the video above, Daria Lugina (’19, CAS’19) transforms the doors of 200 and 202 Bay State Road, illustrating the first with Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid and the second with a more politically charged image of a Muslim woman joining hands with the Statue of Liberty. Video by Bill Politis