We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Sean Starr a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Sean , thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. Can you recount a story of an unexpected problem you’ve faced along the way?
Unexpected issues and problems are very common when working with gold leaf. I run into new challenges all the time even though I have done this work for may years now. Each project requires a certain amount of new research to determine the best approach when gilding, especially if the piece is an antique. Determining the origin and materials on projects is a really important step and if it’s decorative painting then there is also the need to research fully to make sure that the design elements and motifs are either historically correct or proper for the overall design. My Verre Églomisé gold leaf on glass work requires the same diligence in my designs. The execution doesn’t change much, but bringing it all together in a cohesive design requires research and attention to detail that can very challenging. The passion I have for working with gold leaf and other metal leaf is centered around the fact that it is constantly challenging, but equally rewarding.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
I got started in decorative painting and gold leaf work initially by working for my father’s business Starr Custom Paint which he established in San Antonio in 1977. This led to working for years as a sign painter and eventually working extensively with gold leaf. Now my work is centered around gilding of statues, architectural elements, Verre Églomisé which is gold leafing on glass in reverse as well as decorative painting.
I have been creating original art for over 35 years and my work has been featured on the Discovery Channel, NBC Television, Food Network, Juxtapoz Magazine, Art Forum, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Magazine, Dallas Observer, Houston Press, Fort Worth Magazine, and Cavallino Magazine to name just a few.
My clients have included Sony Music, NBC Television, The GAP, Starbucks, Indian Motorcycle as well as Reese Witherspoon, Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsay Buckingham, and the bands The Cranberries and The Toadies.
I have clients all over the United States and have executed projects as far away as Ireland and Nepal.
For you, what’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative?
The people I get to meet and work with. The people seeking out the work I do are passionate and have a true appreciation for tradition and craft and it’s so great when we connect and I am able to provide them with the services I provide and can make their vision come to life. It’s genuinely exciting and never gets old.
How about pivoting – can you share the story of a time you’ve had to pivot?
Impermanence is a part of life and we all have to pivot and adjust from time to time. I think the last couple of years has made us all reflect on what we are doing more than usual and I know so many creative people who are regrouping right now. I anticipate a really big creative wave coming from all of this and I think it’s going to be a very exciting time as people launch new creative efforts and businesses.
- Website: https://www.starrstudiosgilding.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/starrstudiosgilding/
Photos by Exploredinary, Starr Studios and Marc Sery