Spray paint in hand, Lola G. coats the walls of Brooklyn with multi-colored patterns, from blue elephants to tropical mermaids and other fantastical creatures. At just nine years old, the French girl is the world’s youngest street artist.
The young artist’s career was originally launched by a chance encounter. In 2014, she was trying out her new marker pen on a wall in Bushwick — the industrial neighborhood of Brooklyn renowned for its empty warehouses and mural artwork. All of a sudden, she was interrupted by Joe Ficalora, the man behind the Bushwick Collective which acts as a liaison between property owners and street artists to revamp the neighborhood’s run-down façades. He quickly took the young girl “under his wing,” allocating her a section of wall and introducing her to the artists in the collective.
Ever since, works by Lola the Illustrator — her artist name — have blossomed on the social networks and the streets of Brooklyn. “Lola’s repainting our neighborhood one wall as a time,” says her mother, Lille-born Cécile Depraetere. “I can walk around and doodle kind of wherever I want,” says Lola, who will be joining fourth grade at a bilingual school in Brooklyn in September. “Not counting on cars and on things mom says no to!”
Of course, painting on walls without permission is out of the question! The upcoming street artist also draws on square canvases, and hangs her work on walls, gates, fences, and benches under the watchful eye of her mother. She is invited every summer to paint at events organized by the Bushwick Collective, and recently finished a mural piece in Coney Island. To top it all off, she will also be taking part in the Brooklyn Music Festival on Governors Island on August 6, 2017.
Video by Sébastien Vergne & Macarena Carrizosa