Danica M. David, M. A. A. Ed, is a St. Croix-born contemporary artist, educator, author, graphic designer, and the mother of two sons, Alex and Kaylan. She is the owner of Danica Art Studio, and the director of Creative Adventure Summer Art Program. Danica teaches art at the St. Croix Educational Complex High School and is an adjunct professor at the University of the Virgin Islands.
She has owned Danica Art Studio since 2001. Danica is motivated by the Bible verse Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye...“ She believes in praying for direction before every venture. Danica stated, “I delight in creating and inspiring others in the arts. I have the opportunity to live out my passion. It’s an amazing blessing.” Her awards include the Crucian Cultural Heritage Award and The Teacher of the Year Award. Danica’s artwork has graced the walls of patrons in the Caribbean, Europe, and the mainland. Her artwork has been featured in several publications such as the University of the Virgin Islands’ The Caribbean Writer 15th Anniversary Issue and Volume 19, Carol Mitchell’s book ’Round My Christmas Tree, Opal Palmer Adisa’s publication Interviewing the Caribbean (2015), and Apple Gidley’s novel Fireburn. Danica’s first book Creative Callaloo: Art, Poems, and Recipes Inspired by the Virgin Islands will be released later this year. Visit www.danicaartvi.com for updates and events.
SB-C: Tell us about who you are and your background. DD: I was born and raised on the island of St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands. I have been a visual artist/painter for over twenty-five years, a studio owner for seventeen years, an art educator for fifteen years, and a graphic professional designer for ten years. I recently became an author. Since 2015, I have been writing my first book entitled Creative Callaloo: Art, Poems, and Recipes Inspired by the Virgin Islands. I do my best to treat others how I would like to be treated. I do my best to honor my word. I would rather hear the truth than a lie, no matter the situation.
SB-C: When did you interest in art begin? DD: I was introduced to art in the second grade when my mother Gloria Davis Rodgers bought me The Charlie Brown Dictionary by Charles Schulz. I practiced drawing by tracing the characters in the book. Many years later, I enrolled in an art class in high school. I fell in love with art during my high school years at the St. Croix Central High School. I continued on and pursued my undergraduate and graduate studies in art. SB-C: When and why did you create Danica Art Studio DD: In 2001, I opened Danica Art Gallery because I wanted to showcase my art and other Caribbean artists. Danica Art Gallery was a retail space. Patrons would visit during daily operating hours. The gallery was located in the heart of downtown Christiansted. I also used the gallery as a venue to launched Creative Adventure Summer Art Program which was also established in 2001. Creative Adventure Summer Art Program runs from June until July. Students ages 7 to 13 explore drawing, painting, pottery, photography, drama, poetry, and community service. They learn creative techniques from me and other local artists. Ten years later, I purchased a two-story home in downtown Christiansted and moved the gallery to the first level. One year later, I converted the gallery into a studio. Patrons visit by appointment only.
SB-C: As an artist how do you stay inspired? DD: I keep busy creating, teaching, decorating my home, and writing. If there is not an artistic opportunity available, I create one.
SB-C: Do you believe the Caribbean as whole invests enough in its art culture? DD: I believe the Caribbean has truly invested in culture. There are many cultural similarities in the Caribbean the art, food, carnival. There are similarities but there are differences too. SB-C: What are some of the challenges you faced whilst building your art business? DD: Not being able to produce art fast enough. I tend to take my time and put my heart and soul into my art. I wish that I was a prolific painter. SB-C: How do you balance finance with your passion to create art work. Do you ever find yourself compromising? DD: I balance by working 101% and resting 101%. I work hard and rest hard. I spend more money on my art supplies with everything else I am frugal.
SB-C: What words of inspiration do you have for women who like you have a passion for art and want to create their own design studio? DD: Trust your artistic instincts, believe in your potential as a creative being, and hang around honest artistic individuals. Stay away from negative, arrogant, and overtly critical artistic individuals. Your artistic ego needs encouragement. It does not need to be bruised.