Bromley Light After Dark:
A feature documentary

Sean Mcdonald is one of my closest fellow humans. After nearly 5 years he has patiently captured me in a myriad of situations.

After working with us, capturing projects we work on in both still photography and film, it started to morph into capturing myself, my wife, my muse, my strength, my glue, my adorable Yuge and our family and some of our close friends.

Over the four and half years of filming Sean started to more and more envisage the outcome as a film / documentary.

David Bromley spraying towards the camera with blue spraypaint

As this was growing, my love, respect and joy being in his company grew to such an extent that I wanted to do one of the hardest things you can do.

Peel away the layers and expose yourself in all your sensitivity, stubbornness, opinionated stances and a lot of the time just be, together with him (Sean and his team) just the deepest of friends.

With our penchant for tom foolery, rebelliousness and love of laughter we never had a script but just got together through most aspects of our life.

I have had some horrendous challenges in my life … from being escorted from school at 15 after rarely going to school since 14 years old and way too soon finding the hardships of being so young, I looked about 12 and had an appetite for destruction and formed friendships (which I still have to this day, my brothers from other mothers with friendships spanning 50 years).

Yet the desire to never sleep, to party, to get up to mischief and then walk from an all nighter straight to work at 7 am as a signwriter, left me a sitting duck for the until then a sleeping beast inside of me.

I was soon juggling a desire to be “normal“ yet dealing with things I had no name for, that I now know are phobias, manic, psychotic episodes, anxiety, night terrors, sleepwalking, agoraphobia, social anxiety etc.

Of course when I took drugs and drank alcohol I could function as I wanted to, carefree, dangerous and a feeling of invincibility.

David Bromley throwing a piece of wood into a big fire in the courtyard of the old castlemaine gaol
David Bromley sitting in his studio with his daughter
David Bromley painting

“Meanwhile the reality was moving me closer to the edge that I very soon fell off.”

Court orders to be locked in psych wards and the destruction of friendships and relationships made me feel that at an early age I was on the periphery of society.

Little did I know that at 24 years old, still alive, unlike many of my friends who weren’t I found that being on the outer was where I could actually easily move into art.

I’d always clumsily loved making art, my bedroom was a psychiatrist’s dream basis for a diagnosis and my cars I painted John Lennon and Keith Richards on but pretty much the next ten years were spent in the agony of delirium and anxiety.

Throw in knife fights, hit over the head with an iron bar, teeth punched out, car crashes, an endless list of clumsy approaches to life, alcoholic blackouts every few days.

David and Yuge Bromley sit in their Studio satisfied
David Bromley dancing in his studio while painting

I slept on friend’s floors and was taken in by a wonderful bunch of Irish / catholic families with huge amounts of children and whilst I loved my parents, my wild brother was never at home, even though he was 2 and a half years older, I found him out and walked next to him on his wild adventures but home was quiet so I lived at the Sheehy’s, the O’Learys, the Howards where certainly Helen Sheehy and Mrs O’Leary were surrogate mothers.

But I even stretched these friendships to breaking points even though they are still brothers to me and Helen still another mother.

My move to Queensland where my manic energy meant that after years of hell I was clean, surfing any wave I could find but my mind was still needing purpose and I was perpetually broke as my mental state found it impossible to work any normal job.

So when I discovered pottery I committed to it like there was no tomorrow. Pottery turned to sculpting in clay and ultimately painting.

It was a revelation but unfortunately my fears and phobias and manic breakdowns followed me and success in the art world brought new problems.

David Bromley mixing paint
David Bromley painting
David Bromley and Yuge painting in the studio
Portrait of David Bromley in his studio.

It was though, a life I would never ever stop working at, even though I have an innate desire to put my finger in the power plug, and an immovable desire to do it my way, and that still leads to falling into the abyss.

If anyone could find a semi linear narrative and capture of that person and my loved ones it’s Sean McDonald.
As I adore his guts, I know he adores mine.

Yuge and I travelled this capture through film with Sean and his wife Kat like the gang from the Dead Poets Society.

Seizing the day, capturing the moments and here it is. Sean’s film on us.

We hope you will watch it and laugh and cry. It’s not an intellectual, cultural film. It’s a bunch of people walking, running, smashing our way through life.