INTERVIEW: Catherine Hiller, Catherine Hiller Art

Catherine Hiller Art

There is something special about the art scene in Melbourne. It is vibrant and bold, with so many galleries and studios for collectors to admire; one of which is home to the amazing works of Catherine Hiller. 

Catherine Hiller is a Melbourne based abstract expressionist artist based in beautiful Port Phillip, who has been painting for over 35 years. She creates artworks that concentrate on powerful, emotional moments in time – resulting in works that not only celebrates feelings of happiness, joy, passion, pain, intensity and reflection, but encourages her collectors and viewers to feel it all too. 

We caught up with Catherine, toured her incredible studio space, and asked her what inspired her to start painting, how the digital landscape has changed the way artists create and share their work, how to choose artwork to best style your home, and why she loves having her studio based in the Port Phillip area. 

What inspired you to first pick up your paint brush? Were you always drawn to painting?

My first memory of painting was when I was a small child – it was a rainy day and my mum gave me some paints to try. I think I fell in love with painting at that moment and it never left me since! To this day, I associate rainy weather with wanting to paint!

Your paintings are so easy to identify as yours – you have a beautifully energetic and vibrant style. How did you develop your personal style? Has your style and the way you paint shifted and evolved over time?

I studied art and painted from the age of twelve, experimenting with a broad array of materials and techniques whilst absorbing the moods and colours of the countries I lived in, including France, the UK, Switzerland and Kenya. Although I began painting in a realistic style, eventually I felt the urge to paint in a more expressionist way using strong brush marks, leaving prominent space for movement, colour and emotion. Ultimately about ten years ago, the subject felt redundant and my work became completely abstract, giving me the freedom to express my emotions honestly and absolutely, through colour and in the rawest possible form.

Your artwork has been sold and showcased in galleries and solo shows across the globe, including the UK, France and of course here in Australia. What is it like to know that your work has been admired by so many? 

It is a lovely feeling when you pour all your heart into what you do and people connect with it – it’s very rewarding. 

You have an amazing Instagram community with over 40,000 people who follow you and your art on the platform. Do you think social media has changed the way artists create and share their work?

Absolutely, social media has changed everything for artists, and for art collectors. It makes showing your work much easier, it’s just a nice way of documenting what you do. It makes the connection between artists and art collectors easier and more direct. But it doesn’t replace working hard at your craft every day!

Catherine Hiller Art

We see art showcased in so many homes, and for some, choosing art can be a difficult decision. Do you have tips for people who want to add art to their homes but are not sure where to start or how to choose the right piece for them?

I would say the best tip is to choose with your heart, rather than matching colours of your cushions!  If a painting speaks to your heart, you will never get tired of it and everything around it will work.

Your studio used to be based in St Kilda and you can now be found at your new studio space in Port Melbourne. Why did you choose these locations when searching for studio space?

I have been living in Port Melbourne for 17 years (the only place I have lived in since I moved to Australia!) so I always wanted to work close to home – my first studio was in South Melbourne, then for the last 4.5 years it was in St Kilda. A few weeks ago I moved into my new studio in Crockford Street, Port Melbourne in the most beautiful building, full of history – I feel very grateful to be working there.

How would you describe the Port Phillip (St Kilda & Port Melbourne) areas to someone who has never been to the area before?

I find Port Melbourne and St Kilda have a great sense of community, it is like a village – and nothing can beat being a few minutes between the City and the beach and all that they have to offer!

Do you have go-to cafes or local foodies and businesses you would recommend people go and visit?

So many amazing places around Port Melbourne, it’s almost impossible to pick a few but my first coffee stop in the morning is usually Crème and then once I have been at my studio for a while I will usually get another one at Four2Six just behind my studio. For eating out, I love Glenda PhoHanoi Mee and also an amazing newer one, Elma! My rescue dog Buddy’s favourite place is Paws Connect, where he always gets the best care and treats!

Catherine Hiller Art

Learn more about Catherine Hiller, and keep up to date with her latest creations by visiting her studio, or following her on social media. You can find her details below: 

Instagram: @catherinehiller_art


Studio: 25A Crockford Street, Port Melbourne