The Hallmarks of This Teen’s Gallery Wall? Protest Art and a Border Painted by Hand
Her grandmother even wrote on the mirror.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:24 AM
Lucy Lipofsky is never not making things. “I’m always doodling, I guess,” she says by phone from home in Los Angeles, in that offhanded way only a 15-year-old can master. Her mother, Jenna Cooper, is on the line too, and chimes in with a brag, in the way that only moms can do: “She had an internship with Johnson Hartig of Libertine last summer, and one of her drawings ended up on a T-shirt.”
That spark of enterprising creativity continues to thrive. Last year, Lucy started the collective and online shop Lulu and Friends with a few of her high school artist and crafter friends, selling handmade creations to raise money for various organizations, including the ACLU and the Climate Reality Project. Current events also inspired her to put markers and paints to paper in her small studio at home, where she’s made art in protest of everything from the Supreme Court hearings before Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the anti–police brutality movement that swelled following the murder of George Floyd.
Since sheltering at home over the past several months, the walls of her room have become another outlet. From her bed—essentially twin beds facing each other to form one extra-long lounge area and comfy landing spot for Millie, the family’s golden retriever—Lucy has been reimagining her space. The pendant light was made from berber baskets bought on a family trip to Morocco that she and her dad (a contractor) drilled holes into and repurposed as cool graphic shades.
“I’d been collecting things for a gallery wall since I was 10 or 11, but I only started working on it during quarantine,” explains Lucy. At first, she laid her items on the floor, strategizing how to hang them and following her instincts about balancing color and proportion. The mix features some of her own work, screen prints scored at craft fairs, mirrors from Mexico City, and an ombré Beatles poster swiped from her twin brother’s room. Next, out came the washi tape (Cooper insisted on framing a few Lucy originals) as a vibrant way to display each piece. The series of vintage posters by Sister Corita Kent, a pioneering graphic designer and nun who taught at a girls’ school nearby, was a gift from Lucy’s grandmother (“She kept them in a box since the ’60s”)—an artist herself who traced a lyric from the Rolling Stones’ “She’s a Rainbow” around the circular mirror above Lucy’s desk.
The curling green vine that runs along the top of the wall came about when the resourceful teen picked up a brush and “just started painting a squiggle.” “She was complaining about having nothing to paint, and I said, ‘Just paint on your wall,’” says Cooper, a real-estate agent and very busy house flipper, who understands the transformative power of a little paint. “I didn’t really have a plan,” admits Lucy. “I’m not a person who gets intimidated before I start. I’m like, Well, if it doesn’t work, I’ll figure it out. I’ve been accused of being too ambitious.” She won’t say by whom, but mother and daughter both have a laugh.