In a Starr Hagenbring piece colors bend and twist. Fault lines of fabric erupt where sumptuous textures collide. Painted spirals seem to float above colorful patterns. The eye is drawn several different directions at once as the viewer tries to take it all in.
Starr has been an artist for most of her life, but her techniques and mediums have evolved constantly throughout the years. She has worked on Hollywood movie sets, she’s painted murals and she’s been designing eyeglasses for the past decade.
But it’s the fashion world that gives Hagenbring the flexibility to draw from her eclectic artistic endeavors to create singular pieces designed to evoke strong emotions while ensuring the wearer will stand out in any crowd.
“I got into clothing by complete accident,” she says. “Clothing was a complete bore. People weren’t wearing anything interesting, and it wasn’t fun.”
Hagenbring has developed a huge variety of designs that range from a mash-up Mexico’s Day of the Dead iconography with Mardi Gras themes to a somber reminder of the lives lost to gun violence in America. Every piece brings to life a fresh perspective, and they always go perfectly with New Orleans.
When it comes to picking a favorite piece, Hagenbring says it’s whatever she’s working on right now. The freshest designs always speak to the immediacy of life and to her ongoing effort to convey emotions through art.
“I cover a lot of bases with my stuff because I can,” she says. “People like it. People are really moved by pieces that tell stories, especially if they truly believe in those stories. That’s what it’s about.”
Designing custom eyewear isn’t something that Starr ever saw herself doing. In fact, a lack of sight actually led to the creation of her retail store, Art & Eyes.
“My significant other is super blind,” she says. “We both have great taste, and we both decided that eyewear would be a really neat way to kind of introduce ourselves to New Orleans as a retail venue, and it worked!”
Art & Eyes 3708 Magazine St., 504-891-4494, ArtAndEyesNewOrleansLA.com, @ArtAndEyesNOLA