Best larger-than-life daydreamers

Sofia Lacin and Hennessy Christophel of L/C Mural & Design

Muralists Sofia Lacin (standing) and Hennessy Christophel create works that marry the former’s love for big, bold graphics with the latter’s keen sense of obsessive detail.

Muralists Sofia Lacin (standing) and Hennessy Christophel create works that marry the former’s love for big, bold graphics with the latter’s keen sense of obsessive detail.

Photo by ryan donahue

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Sometimes to solve a problem, one needs to simply approach it from another angle, see it in a different light, perhaps.

That’s the tact muralists Sofia Lacin and Hennessy Christophel took as they brainstormed ideas for Davis’ 4-million gallon East Area Water Tank. For months, they studied the water structure—the way the sun hit its sides at various points in the day, for example.

“It was just sitting and contemplating, ’What’s going to create life?’” Christophel says.

Davis, they theorized, should be celebrated for its commitment to education, technology and the environment.

Eventually, they hit upon the answer.

“Movement creates life,” Lacin says now.

“Same Sun,” the resulting mural that now curves around the cement cylinder, says as much as about the city as it does about the women who created it. To complete the painting, the pair built a scale model of the tower, commissioned work from sculptor Terrence Martin, hired a landscape artist, and then spent six months working from their perch on a 32-foot scissor lift.

The resulting piece is nothing short of epic: 1,400-square feet of swirling, earthy colors (some applied with paint sprayers, others applied obsessively by hand) and an incomplete rendition of the Latin phrase: “Sol Omnibus Lucet,” or “the sun shines upon us all.” Now, each year on the summer solstice, people visit to observe as the sun shines through a series of Martin’s commissioned metal sculptures (positioned just so, thanks to the landscape artist) to cast moving shadows that render the phrase whole.

“That’s important to us—to create community interaction, to spark curiosity, to teach people about art,” Lacin says.

Lacin, 28, and Christophel, 27, have worked together for five years, but their history runs much deeper. The friends met as students at Mira Loma High School, stayed close even as they studied art at different colleges—Lacin at UC Davis, then Italy, and Christophel at UC Santa Cruz—and then reconnected when Lacin was commissioned to create a mural for Crepeville in Davis.

Lacin enlisted her friend to help, and since then, the pair formed its own firm, L/C Mural & Design, and has completed more than four-dozen murals, including pieces for the Sacramento Bingo Center, the Capitol Area Development Authority and Shady Lady Saloon.

They approach each project with an eye for minute elements and big-picture impact. As they agonized over the bingo mural, for example, the two women found themselves lying in the center’s parking lot, staring at the building until inspiration struck. The result is a graphic blend of letters, numbers and colors that draws on Lacin’s affinity for bold colors and Christophel’s passion for detail and typography.

Ultimately, Lacin says, “we really consider the design to be the most important piece.”

This summer, Lacin and Christophel moved into a sprawling north Sacramento warehouse. Now, as they take on more work, there’s talk of inspiration, travel and even legacy.

“We’d like to do a project in Sacramento that has the same impact as the Davis tower,” Lacin says.

Or, as Christophel puts it:

“We want to be seen as art leaders in Sacramento.”