About 2 Men Drawing

A drawing is more than a reminder of life – it should acquire a life of its own.

At a lunch meeting one day in the late 1970s, some time before entre and main, architect Peter Mills and ad man Bruce Harvey started drawing their fellow diners, straight onto the paper tablecloths. Business acquaintances originally, the two men had discovered a shared passion for sketching. That first lunch at the Waiters’ Club led to others, and soon they were embarked on an odyssey of lunches at Melbourne cafes with similarly sketch-friendly tablecloths.

Over time they found a regular home at Vivaldi restaurant, whose owner urged them to draw on proper paper, rather than his tablecloths, and hold a show. The resulting drawings of diners and passersby became the first public exhibition for ‘2 Men Drawing’. The show was a sell-out, with proceeds going to Melbourne City Mission. More projects followed. 2 Men Drawing have sketched ABC radio announcers at work, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Flinders Quartet rehearsals, and Sarah Curro’s Volume Concerts.

2 Men Drawing work in the life sketching tradition of European masters such as Toulouse Lautrec and Feliks Topolski using charcoal pen and pencil, to capture the shifting moods of life in their city: faces, figures, buildings, the light of forgotten afternoons. They often draw separately, but together their contrasting styles make a unique double act. Peter produces the carefully worked drawings of a trained architect, meticulous, detailed, depths of shade and light. Bruce’s sketches evoke fleeting movement in loose, airy lines like tangles of yarn, gestural, and suggestive.

Drawing by hand is arguably a disappearing skill. For 2 Men Drawing sketching a moment of feeling in a few swift lines is a joyful compulsion, and a living art that reveals the extraordinary in the everyday world around.