Finding Inspiration In Ziggy Stardust


Local debuts David Bowie-inspired pieces in NYC

When it rains, it pours and that’s certainly the case for Danica Barboza. Luckily, for the Westbury native, it’s pouring down good fortune, as she begins to simultaneously see the fruit of her numerous creative endeavors.

“I’m full of nervous energy,” said Barboza.

A detail from Danica Barboza’s handmade sculpture, titled ‘Cycle 3’.

And it’s easy to understand why. Barboza currently has an exhibit at the Lomex Gallery in Manhattan, which has been well received, as well as is in talks with two modeling agencies looking to take her on as a model.

Creativity is in Barboza’s DNA. She’s the daughter of Laura Carrington, an actress who propelled to fame on All My Children and General Hospital as well as the lead in Lionel Richie’s music video for “Hello,” and photographer Anthony Barboza, who has photographed celebrities such as Jay Z, Michael Jackson and Halle Berry, in addition to his portfolio of commercial work.

With parents so deeply embedded in the celebrity world, Barboza had very unique opportunities growing up.

Danica Barboza in the Lomex gallery beside her artwork.

“I had this really nice childhood that was rich with people and travel. It felt plentiful,” said Barboza. As a child, she got the chance to travel to places like Bali, Morocco and Japan to accompany her parents on various projects. “I got to see a nice glimpse behind the scenes of being on photoshoots with my dad and doing things with my mom.”

Things settled down when she was 8 years old and the family moved from New York City to Westbury. Barboza attended Huntington Fine Arts, a private school that caters specifically to students who want to become artists, before going onto The Cooper Union, where she graduated in 2012.

It was training that prepared her well for her first solo show, now running through the first week of March at the Lomex. Barboza’s exhibit, titled Expectation Histo-Satis, features seven life-size pieces, characters that come from a book she’s working on inspired by David Bowie.

David Bowie has served as a major inspiration for Barboza, and every piece in the exhibit is either related to him or his passing. One of the characters, the grieving Miss Havisham, inspired by the Charles Dickens’ work Great Expectations, serves as someone “people can latch onto,” as they mourn the loss of the music icon, said Barboza.

Photo by Keith Major

“Everything is interrelated,” said Barboza. “There’s a lot about David Bowie and his passing. David Bowie is the heart and center of it all. Even if every piece isn’t a portrait of him, it’s a reaction to his passing and his legacy.”

Bowie inspired countless fans across the world and Barboza said she found the late musician an extremely relatable and personal figure. Through her sculptures, she hopes to show viewers the more human side of the worldwide celebrity.

“It’s not about presenting him as a celebrity or public persona, the whole challenge of making his portrait, for me, was to show him as a person,” said Barboza. “It’s not photos we’re used to seeing, it’s images of him older, the way he was closer to him passing away. It’s realistic.”

Growing up surrounded by celebrities and so close to the limelight, Barboza said she tries to play with the ideas of public and private life, and how much of celebrity culture can be a façade.

“I have a more realistic view of celebrity,” she said. “It’s so easy for people to lose sight of the fact that celebrities are real people, we’re so used to seeing them on a pedestal and project what we want to see. They have flaws too. To show someone’s humanity when they’re used to seeing the glamorized version is what makes it art, not just pop culture.”
In addition to showing her art at her first solo show, Barboza is also diving into the modeling world. She currently has interest from two agencies and said that her childhood prepared her well for a career in modeling.

“I kind of grew up with it, it felt like returning to something that felt like home,” Barboza said. “Being in front of the camera and expressive in your gestures and body and personality, it’s like a full acting experience. It’s nice to express that way, like I do in my artwork where I express with a tangible product.”

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Betsy Abraham is the former senior managing editor at Anton Media Group and editor of The Westbury Times and Massapequa Observer. She also wrote for Long Island Weekly.

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