Peter Yuill reveals what inspires him and how he always knew he wanted to be an artist
Art lovers were left hypnotised by geometric forms gilded with metallics at the opening show for Peter Yuill’s new body of work, Alignment.
The Hong Kong-based Canadian artist simultaneously debuted his latest collection of pieces at House Studio, the newly opened event space inside Soho House, and Gallery HZ on March 18. Social distancing couldn’t keep the art community away from Yuill’s 10 new works displayed at the solo exhibition, which drew a crowd of more than 100 and saw original works and autographed prints fly out of the door.
Yuill’s work is instantly recognisable thanks to his trademark concentric circles, which have evolved in style to look almost like Celtic knots, as best seen in pieces like Freyr and Dreamcatcher. Through his art, Yuill seeks to define how humans interact with nature and make sense of their role in the universe, while his abstract geometry draws from ideas around spirituality and liberation.
Among the guests were former Hong Kong financial secretary John Tsang; entertainer Joyce Cheng; artist and founder of The 14th Factory roving exhibition Simon Birch; Revé by René eyewear co-founder Tiffany Chan; chef and owner of Jouer Patisserie Anne Cheung; and feng shui master and Tatler’s March cover star Thierry Chow, who brimmed with pride for her husband Peter throughout the evening.
Here's our interview with Peter Yuill.
You are known for your circular artworks. How did that style come about?
It actually came from a long process of deconstruction, trying to get to the core essence of myself and my creative vision. I spent a long time being unhappy with the work I was making and wanted to break everything down and discover what I was really all about. I continued to distil my work until I was eventually left with just a circle, and from there I began building back up again. To me, the circle represents the marriage of mathematical and spiritual perfection.
Where did you draw your inspiration from for Alignment?
The work for this collection was the natural evolution from my last big body of work. I feel these pieces show a significant evolution in my own personal and spiritual growth. Whereas many of my previous works were much more chaotic and aggressive, these pieces are much more balanced and centred, reflecting that same feeling within me.
Growing up, did you always know you’d be an artist?
Yes, in one form or another. I have always been fiercely independent and self-reliant and I walk my own path. I never really fit into normal society even from an early age, and I always knew my own destiny was something that would cut against the grain. For a long time, it was a very isolating feeling, until I realised it was OK to think so radically different to everyone around me.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
My parents started putting me to work at around 13 years old: I’d scrape the rust off truck trailers and repaint them. I worked at a ski hill in the winter and a driving range in the summer through high school. I spent my university years painting houses with a professional crew. The last ‘real job’ I had was teaching English when I first moved to Hong Kong, but that didn’t last long.
How do you and Thierry encourage each other creatively?
We are basically one spirit split between two bodies with two contrasting viewpoints on the same concepts, so we work very well together. Our completely opposite cultural references and upbringings make our approach to situations very different, but our shared vision means we are always on the same page with what the outcome should be.
What’s next for you?
I’m working with fellow artist Simon Birch on his very large project, The 14th Factory, which features several other Hong Kong, Chinese and international artists. It’s an immersive art exhibition. We previously launched it in Los Angeles and are now in the process of moving it to London, global circumstances permitting, of course.
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