UNLV alumna blings out a commemorative graduation cap for the cover of UNLV Publication.
For UNLV Publication’s fall concern, we needed a special cover to celebrate our 60th anniversary. We likewise took place to have a story on professor Sheila Bock’s research study on the trend of decorated graduation caps. So we turned to among our own– artist Tara Eck– for aid producing a cover that caught both.
Tara Eck’s foray into haute couture was a fluke. In 2013, she ‘d picked up a bland set of Toms at a storage facility sale, got her Sharpies, and turned the sneakers into her canvas.
For a three-day style cruise with the band 311, she did a special black-light reactive set for her partner. Her social media posts resulted in requests for custom designs, and she quickly released Hipster Gypsy Styles through Facebook and Instagram.
However producing the designs with her comprehensive stipple work and crystals can use up to a week. And as a Clark County School District instructor at the time, she might only kick out a half dozen sets a week.
“As an art instructor, it’s hard to find the energy to develop on your own because you’re focused on helping kids discover their own enthusiasms,” she stated. She stopped taking orders till this fall, when her husband’s job relocated the couple to Minnesota. She’s now put her 13-year teaching profession on hold to develop Hipster Gypsy along with clients as a LulaRoe stylist.
We found Eck’s work with crystals on a customized graduation cap she developed in 2016, when one of her former high school students, Molly Hamby, graduated with her master’s degree in social work from UNLV.
“It was quite unique to have a student come back and ask me to be part of her graduation that method– to know I made a difference to her,” she said. “As an instructor, that suggests everything to us. But then to have my own university ask — that made me proud as an artist.”