By NOAH BECKER, MAY 2017
In New York's competitive and overwhelming art scene of 2017, a former fashion model named Daria Borisova is becoming one of the most sought after young art dealers. Borisova was born in Volgograd, Russia (formerly Stalingrad), a historical hero city on the Volgog River - the longest river in Europe. The river flows through central Russia to the Caspian Sea, presenting one with the sublime power of the natural world. But scenic Mother Russia is a long way from the fast paced New York art world.
Borisova was 19 when she first arrived in New York but started modeling in Russia much earlier at age 14. Borisova was inspired to pursue the demands of a modeling career when her sister said, “This is your chance in life.” She spent her first two years of modeling in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Milan growing weary of the demands of the modeling industry. Borisova traveled the world as most young models do - a baby seeing the world through fresh eyes. She traveled non-stop for a number of years and modeled internationally from age 14 to 18. “I became very tired of travelling but I really wanted to come to New York,” Borisova recalls. Soon she got her wish and was no longer traveling from one modeling job to the next. Borisova got her first contract to model in New York at age 19 - a steady home in Manhattan.
Later on and through various connections, she found a way to enter the art world in New York as more than just a tourist. Her role in the art world happened through a few different social connections. “I have a law degree from Russia and I found many social situations through law and more so through art,” she told me. Borisova also at one point wanted to start a coffee company, then a tech company. Life became stressful as it sometimes can and her personal struggles got in the way of progress. She had a terrible break up with her ex-boyfriend, also a law person and suddenly found herself very depressed while living in New York.
Wanting to do something more with her life she got a wild idea and started to paint on jeans. The jeans were a form of wearable art and had a nice connection to her experience in the fashion world. The painted jeans got her involved with painters and meeting people at New York nightclubs where she would wear the jeans and show them off to strangers and friends. It was there that she met artist Harif Guzman who had a loft on Wooster Street that functioned as an art world social scene for Borisova. “There was no Monday to Friday and no 9 to 5, it was totally different than the fashion world.” Borisova found herself surrounded by rich people, beautiful people and famous artists but in a much different way than she was accustomed to in the fashion world - a much better way.
This summer she became a member of the Council for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum. The main reason for this is so that she can be “An active person who contributes and helps to make some positive change.” Borisova likes to tell it how it is, “Working with aggressive and greedy businessmen made me really frustrated,” she says. “Most of the time I felt a huge disconnection with the art world but at the same time I couldn't avoid the fact that I love art very deeply.” Borisova thinks people forget why and how they started in the arts. “I want to be surrounded by strong and inspiring women who are changing the world through the art and not by profit seekers that all they care about is their own well being and pocket.” WM
A New York based painter and the publisher and founding editor of Whitehot Magazine, Noah Becker shows his art internationally. He has also written freelance articles for The Guardian, Art in America, Interview Magazine, Canadian Art and the Huffington Post and contributed texts to major artist monographs published by Rizzoli and Hatje Cantz. Becker also directed the New York art documentary New York is Now (2010) viewable on Youtube.
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