Artist Spotlight Series: Cat Lee

I have loads of artists in store for 2016.  

I am kicking it off with a favorite I found via her Instagram from down under.  The colors and critters attracted me immediately. 

I am smitten with many Australian talents right now. 

Cat Lee

Sydney, Australia



What is your training? 

I studied a Bachelor of Fine Art Degree; but I would put most of my training down to experience and self-study.  A friend of mine, beautiful French artist, Fabienne Arthaud, also gave me personal lessons and I learnt a great deal from her in just a few months (I was smitten with her French accent and ways).

I personally feel that exploration and experimentation is the best for growth as an artist.


What inspires you and your designs? 

My designs are borne from my love of fashion, textiles and cultures from faraway lands…

I’m revisiting Southwest style.  My favourite artist is Santa Fe artist,   Georgia O’Keeffe; whom I studied whilst at University.


And when I spend time in nature; I find myself inspired and in the zone to create. 

What is your favorite piece? 

I have two.

One is a llama I a painted for a charity auction through Fenton & Fenton for School’s a Gift; raising funds for Ethiopian children to receive an education.  I had been admiring adorned llamas for sometime; and when I was invited to participate in the fundraiser, I realised how gracious and dignified llama’s appeared; seemingly apt for education.  

Once I started painting the piece with the importance of education for children in mind; it turned out to be an incredibly proud looking llama. I named it ‘Hold Your Head High’.


The other is a (luxe) bohemian pony I painted; completely adorable and adorned in jewels from afar.  It was based on a Shetland Pony called Lucy, owned by Gypsy River (a beautiful luxe bohemian store).  Kerrie (the owner), draped Lucy in her jewelry for a shoot and when I saw the picture of her, I completely fell in love so I had to paint her!  The detail was intense but I adored every moment of it as it combined two of my loves, horses and ethnic jewelry!  

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How has your area influenced your work? 

I’ve learnt that nature is imperative to my creativity.  I recently moved from the mountains to the ocean and I find my work now has a stronger use of colour and design.  I live in Byron Bay; and I feel a more bohemian/southwest style is coming through into my work.

What is your favorite restaurant in Sydney? 

A restaurant a little out of town called The Roadhouse; it’s funky, intimate and has a good local vibe.  Delicious coffee and good organic wine!

What is your favorite cocktail? 

I have two!  Depending on my mood; a Mudslide


or a good, minty-fresh Mojito.


How do you balance personal life and work? 

A target at the onset of working for myself was to ensure I love what I do so much that it doesn’t feel like work (infact, I enjoy it so much I don’t want to stop!).  I’ve learned how to gauge what requires urgent attention, ie a business phone call/email and what it is that can wait.  

I feel like the people I work with (customers, galleries, stores, suppliers) are an important part of my life and my relationship with them is valuable to me; not only for my business but also on a personal level.  My artwork and I are intertwined and inseparable.

Dream trip? 

In this moment; my dream trip would be to Santa Fe to experience the home of one of my favourite artists, Georgia O’Keeffe;


this trip would be inclusive of popping down to Mexico for some culture and colour infusion then across to New York (I’ve been told I would feel at home there)…and if I could somehow squeeze in a visit to Morocco, India and France along the way…then, that would be the ultimate!

Dream commission? 

I would completely love to paint an abstract so large (ie, 2m x 10m; made up of panels) that I would require an enormous studio space to paint it in. I’ve had some Dreamy customers over time who have said ‘please just go for it’; and I imagine to do that on a piece so big would feel incredible.

Your favorite host / hostess gift to give? 

I have an extensive Australian bird feather collection that has grown over the years

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and I’ve recently started framing one or three feathers between two panels of glass (so that the feather appears suspended) in a small frame.  The gift is one from my heart and has been well received.


Who is your style icon? 

Millicent Rogers.  So stylish; she put Southwest Style on the fashion map.


I also adore Heidi Middleton (one of the two founders of Sass and Bide); her style is unique and elegant.

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Your favorite up and coming artist? 

I’m absolutely in love with the work of young Sydney artist, Kaspar Kagi.  His use of colour is full of life and joy…and reflective of his personality!


What is your most treasured possession? 

An authentic Native American silver earring (the one remaining from a pair; devastated the other one was lost in a paddock) that my son bought for me out of his pocket money when he was eight.  It was the two fine silver feathers in the earrings that he knew I would love and I will always remember the special moment when he gave them to me.  His eyes were full of love and his spirit was of generosity and gentleness.


What are you reading? 

Atmospheric; the burning story of Climate Change


What are you listening to? 

Portishead Radio on Pandora.

What are your favorite blogs / publications? 

I enjoy reading Majestic Disorder Magazine; it’s brimming with cultural deliciousness from around the globe.  

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I also love the writings of Nat Kelley in her blog…


Enjoy her colorful portfolio:



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