A Brisbane artist: Robert Brownhall
As well as creating exhibitions for the public, an important part of Museum of Brisbane’s job is to be custodians for the city’s artworks – to encourage and showcase our local artists.
Throughout many of our exhibitions you will find artworks by Brisbane artists who have in some way helped us show all that is Brisbane to the world. One of those artists is Robert Brownhall, who has been painting for over 20 years. We recently sat down with him to ask about life as a artist and why it’s important for us as a community to celebrate artists living and working in Brisbane.
Museum of Brisbane (Museum): Have you always lived in Brisbane?
Robert Brownhall (RB): I was born in Brisbane, then I moved to Bundaberg with my parents where I lived until I was three years old. We came back to Brisbane after this and I have lived here ever since.
Museum: Tell me about your works and their relationship to Brisbane
RB: I suppose I would call my work imaginative realism. The city has so many great visual stories to tell. I find an interesting scene out on the street or from a high rise building, make a drawing and turn it into a painting in the studio. My paintings are about the way people live, the personality of the architecture (which defines a city) and the effects of light and weather. I especially like the morning and warm afternoon light in Brisbane and I am always trying to capture it in my paintings. When I go out exploring in my car I can always find interesting buildings. I also like the shape of the winding river, the many bridges and the look of the city at night. Brisbane has always felt like home to me.
Museum: What do you find most enjoyable about being an artist based in Brisbane?
RB: The scenery is great and the people are down to earth and easy to get along with. I have a studio at my house in the bush, but I am only 30 minutes drive from the middle of the city.
Museum: What impact do you think local artists have on the city’s DNA?
RB: Some artists can show people their environment in a new way, while other artists make artworks with great personality and character that stick in people’s minds, and become a part of the way they think about their city.
Museum: How important is it that Brisbane celebrates it’s local artists?
RB: It is very important. An artist’s life is not an easy one and if there is no recognition from the people and the city they simply give up and stop doing it. I have seen this happen many times. The city loses a bit more personality each time an artist decides to stop their practice.