- Edition Two A Drink With... David Bromley
- Author Joshua Elias
- Photographer James Morgan
With his hat tilted forward and a shadow falling over his eyes, David Bromley momentarily held his breath. “I’m a very serious man,” he states.
The chuckle that ensues is accompanied by his characteristically seasoned smile. Informed by soft assurance, Bromley’s posture relaxes forward into a more genuine pose as he quips, “You’ve got to ease into the way that things are.”
For an artist, especially one in Bromley’s position, creativity is second to persistence. Renowned for his portraiture, prolific workflow and diverse and attentive exploration of found objects, Bromley escapes the capture of category—much to the frustration of the contemporary critic. “People think I’m a painter but the thing is, I love interiors and I love buildings and I approach it all as an artist. You do different things but it’s from your core passion. If you keep fostering your own arena, then diversity comes with it.” Bromley’s “own arena” is supported by a cast of 11 employees who help to do everything, from preparing canvasses to watering the plants. His studios are built on a model that triumphs productivity; Bromley eschews the idea of lethargic artistry in favour of an atelier celebrating cultural trades. Considered a prolific artist since the mid-1980s and having established an internationally renowned reputation, his ethos and methodology are clearly compelling.
Bromley splits his time between his residence in Hepburn Springs and his workshop in Prahran. Our interview takes place on the third level of the latter—a 120-year-old archi-tectural landmark that the artist describes as “a wonderful found object.” Over the years, the building has drifted through metamorphosis. At first a grand shopping arcade in the late nineteenth century, it then became the launch pad of the iconic wine merchant Dan Murphy before evolving into the studio of the famed artist Howard Arkley and his then partner, Elizabeth Gower. The structure takes its current form as Bromley’s showroom and work studio. Each room is densely packed with a careful selection of accessories, sculptures, photographs, paintings, taxidermy, demijohns and countless other wondrous adornments and fittings; walking its labyrinthine hallways is a rich and rewarding experience. Rearranging this space is an important part of Bromley’s routine: “we spend most of our day moving objects a bit to the left or a bit to the right. The building has a soul that needs to be nourished—It has to be working, it has to be running, it has to be driving.”