The Bromley Factor

David and Yuge Bromley are the first to admit they lead double lives. Throwing conventional living out the window, they commute between Melbourne, Daylesford and Hepburn Springs with their two-year-old daughter Wen, time not dictated by weekdays and weekends, but meetings, appointments and other work commitments. In the city, the artistic couple survive 20140912_BCo_Daylesford_319on takeaway food and accumulate parking tickets, as they flit between their store-cum-galleries in Windsor and The Block Arcade. When they land at their regional base however, they kiss the earth beneath them, thankful for the trees, their vegetable garden, and being able to cook in a kitchen. Hepburn has been home for the past two years, following a similar length stint in Byron Bay. “I’ve always loved Melbourne as a city, so when David said ‘Let’s move’, I thought, ‘I don’t necessarily need to be in Byron anymore, let’s go back’,” Yuge says. “The thought of Daylesford was just perfect, I couldn’t imagine a better mix.”

“I know I’ve never felt more at home than we do in Victoria,” adds David. “I never thought I’d have that feeling, it’s amazing.”

One of Australia’s most recognised artists, David is known for his bronze sculptures, together with his paintings depicting either childhood antics or female nudes. Yuge was a successful criminal lawyer, before launching her eponymous fashion label in 2012. “I’d put so much work into my legal career, to move into something else certainly wasn’t approached as a little hobby. One way or anther it was going to work,” she says. “It’s been three years since I started my label and I feel like the traction’s just building now. I think that’s about right – it should take a bit of time to build. I quite like the idea of a slow burn.”

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The Bromley’s personal relationship also became professional in June last year, with the formation of Bromley & Co. “We’ve tried to build a brand that encompasses more than just David’s artwork,” explains Yuge. “It’s about the ‘Co’ and all the other artists we admire and like surrounding ourselves with.”

Bromley & Co. encompasses not just retail, but a myriad of creative and collaborative projects, some of which take place in East Street Gallery, just a stone’s throw from the Vincent Street store in the heart of Daylesford. “We’re really lucky that they’re so close but really quite different,” says David. “The scale and the size (of East Street) make it stand alone. There’s not much you couldn’t do there, so it’s a big, long-term vision.” Having signed a 20-year lease on the building earlier this year, it has already been the unique setting for a number of exhibitions, weddings and a Kate Ceberano gig. “It’s wonderful that you can be two streets back from the main road and feel like you’re in the industrial estate but with beautiful country around you,” says Yuge. “I think that adds to the experience and puts you in the mindset that you’re not in the bustle of the city, or even the bustle of the main street.”

David says he’s inspired by regional galleries in the UK where he was born, growing up in South Australia, while Yuge hails from China, growing up in New Zealand).  David thinks if you’re going to forge something in a regional area, the cultural component is incredibly important. “I’ve always been interested in places like Byron and Noosa where there are shopping strips and separate industrial estates housing artisans, yoga studios, and landscaping centres. It’s very earthy.”

It’s what’s bubbling away in the spa town that currently has the Bromley’s incredibly excited. A sculpture exposé this EastStreetComplete_LR-072spring (born out of what David describes as “the biggest sculpture making session of my life”) at Peppers Mineral Springs Hotel, and next year’s collaboration with motorcycle apparel company, Saint, shows anything is possible. “We’re both adrenalin junkies, but we’re not going to tie something around our waist and jump off a bridge,” says David. “For me, if you’re not pushing the boundaries you’re taking up too much air, all those clichés. They all make sense to me.”

“I think we both are unashamedly ambitious,” says Yuge, before David chimes in, “All our creative heroes pushed the boundaries”.

For more information on Bromley & Co., visit www.bromleyandco.com

 

Mica Grange