'Artists can find beauty in any pain.'
Bronwyn Hill is an artist from Brisbane, Australia. Her work is exquisitely detailed. Bronwyn weaves intriguing narratives into her portrait and figurative painting, drawing upon elements of flora and fauna and makes use of sensitive explorations of light and shadow.
Where is your current studio? What would be your dream studio?
My 'studio' is the lounge/living room space of my house that connects onto the kitchen, it has the most light and is also the only air-conditioned room in the house.
A dream studio would be a much bigger space to allow for multiple large paintings on the go, good and even lighting, one large white wall for hanging and photographing work, concrete floors (or something else that I wouldn't be concerned about staining) and some kind of air filtering system to help minimise dust. Do you prefer to work in silence or does certain music inspire you?
It depends on my mood and the stage of the painting. When I'm starting a new piece and either drawing up or doing base layers, I rarely have any sound unless it's subtle background music, but once I've got the composition and base layers sorter and it's all down to putting in the many hours of layering and detailing, then I'll usually stream a show/movies, mostly something I've seen before so it doesn't distract me. It's that or heavy music but when you work very long hours on your own, even music is sometimes too quiet and you need to hear conversations and an occasional battle scene.
Studio life can lead to isolation, how do you address this/ keep a balance?
I seem to thrive in isolation, art is my full time profession so I spend between 8 - 15 hours every day working by myself, sometimes longer if a deadline is really tight. There were 3 years where I was both working and living by myself, that was pushing my isolation limits but I do some studio assistant work for another artist one or two days a week so that helps, and the occasional social event is all I need.
I'm now living with my partner who works from home as well which was a huge change, although we still only really cross paths to eat dinner as his working schedule is complete opposite to mine - I work best at night so I'm usually going to bed when he is waking up, though given we are both introverts and need our space, that suits us both.
Describe a moment you had an epiphany concerning your creative life.
The first moment that comes to mind is after my divorce, I was really drawn to paint that pain and create work that reflected how I was processing what had just happened, I think that really changed my outlook on why I'm creating. My work has always been reflective of what I'm experiencing at any given time but it used to be far more subtle and open for interpretation. Deciding to put myself and my feelings more clearly in the work was extremely nerve racking but it's made me really understand what my work means to me and why I do it.
Nature versus nurture- do you believe you have inherited abilities from creative parents, do you have creative siblings? Can you identify environmental factors or influences which led to your choices or directions?
I have no qualifications in understanding why anyone gets drawn to creative outlets but I feel it's both for me. Firstly, my father used to paint and draw, he also plays guitar, flute, harmonica and I recall being told he used to write poetry as well, though I'm yet to read any. This wasn't a profession but it's a part of him, so my home growing up was filled with his paintings and he has done drawings for me, that has to have influenced me.
There is music, painting, culinary arts and other various passions through my family so it seems there are creative tendencies. Secondly, I wasn't very good at making friends in primary school or the first few years high school, I'm a bit shy so I found solace in drawing and occasionally you'd get compliments from other kids or they'd ask you to draw them something, which suddenly created this kind of bridge for connecting to others which I found difficult to do in conversation alone. I do wonder if that was the reason for me grasping onto this potential ability at a young age and putting all my effort into getting better, or if I would have gotten there regardless, who knows.
Detail a moment which was the highlight for you, thus far.
The moment I was able to drop my 'day job' in late 2017 and focus full time on art was pretty incredible... I still can't believe I've managed to get to a point where this is my every day. What do you hope to convey through your work? My work can be branched into two categories, the kind of 'Dear Diary' work that is reflecting my own personal thoughts, emotions and experiences through self portraits (direct or indirect self-portraiture) in the hopes that some may connect to those feelings or the work that is capturing things I find beautiful.
I love light, shadow, colour and nature and one series I've continued to explore for almost 10 years now is one that looks at the way shadows and reflected colours/tones interact with skin. From the surface that may look to just be paintings of nudes but for me they are all about colour, nature and light. The skin itself is more like a canvas in a sense, a way to showcase the different reflected tones of the subjects surroundings, like the blues on the top of a shoulder that are reflected from the sky, and the subtle yellows or greens on the underside of a forearm from grass below.