Painter Robin Hiers creates fun and colorful art that celebrates the beach and West Coast culture. We caught up with her to learn more about the appeal of her work.
ABI: Describe your style and what makes it special.
RH: I have a unique style that is very much my own blend of being painterly and illustrative. I was a graphic arts major and wanted to be a fashion illustrator. That never happened, but I have always painted women, since I was little.
I would draw faces for hours, and now I paint them very fast and confidently. I paint so much that I have a system now. I use a big foam brush to lay down the color, then detail it with the sides of a foam brush in black. My paintings literally come ALIVE when I outline them and create expressions, which tell the story. I can’t wait to outline them. It’s so fun because the painting changes from boring to the feeling one gets when an energetic person walks into the room. I’m not trying to be subtle. I’m trying to get you to look, and smile. I’m not a very subtle person and I think my paintings reflect that direct and loud “love for life” that I have.
ABI: How are you using your images on products other than paintings?
RH: I started painting on white jeans with a big black sharpie – which my friends really loved. I did it during Art Basel a few years back. That has turned into me painting on – well let’s see… everything! But right now I’m doing custom leather jackets for women.
I live right next all of the surfboard companies, so they let me buy the used and dinged up ones for cheap. They call them Art Boards. I’m learning how best to paint on them, to be used as an art piece. It’s just one more way for me to get my art vision out to the world. Here by the beach the surf culture is HUGE, so it’s been very natural. One of my most popular paintings was of a women and the entire bottom of the painting was covered with surf stickers – it was very California cool, with a sexy twist.
I’m hoping to expand my leather jacket business because there is a demand, so for now I do them as custom designs on clients’ own jackets. That way I’m not investing in thousands of dollars of jackets and hoping to sell them. Each is a real piece of art unique to the lifestyle of that person. I love seeing my art on a person, or in their home!
ABI: what niche markets have you found to be successful for you?
RH: My niche market is really a woman who is in love with fashion, the beach life, champagne, travel, and being “carefree.” This woman comes in all shapes and sizes, but it tends to be someone who is “young at heart,” like many of the people that live here in California.
My other niche market is men – the kind of man who has an appreciation for women and the good life. I am painting a lifestyle that is very real here in Southern California, and I’m not making it up. I paint what I see, feel, and live.