Out of my closet: Peter Yuill

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 August, 2012, 6:39pm

Artist Peter Yuill is relaxed and friendly when he opens the door, a handlebar moustache giving away his amusing and playful side.

Yuill grew up in Canada, where he was a "graffiti artist and urban explorer", learning to love the streets and factory buildings that permeate his work, which now includes a range of illustrations of Central.

His artistic works address the cult of the machine and its role in human development, and include references to the Industrial Revolution, so it's perhaps not surprising he collects old-fashioned braces. "They're my favourite clothing accessory. I hunt for suspenders in many different places and I've got quite a few pairs."

Yuill's collection ranges from modern H&M braces to finds in Sham Shui Po. "I find wholesale shops there with amazing styles - though poor quality."

Dressed simply in black jeans and a white T-shirt, the braces - along with his moustache - define his look. But despite his love for such a specific adornment, he says his style changes daily.

"Some days I just dress like a street kid and other times I'm a sophisticated gentleman," Yuill says. "It depends on how I feel. Sometimes I feel like making a bit of trouble and dress more street or punk."

His girlfriend is less keen on the latter look, but Yuill says that although he has mostly grown out of it, at times it just fits his mood.

Yuill's modestly sized wardrobe is full of plain V-neck T-shirts in colours that include purple and red - but mostly white. "V-neck T-shirts from Uniqlo are my favourite because they're cheap and comfortable," he says.

But in keeping with his penchant for the old, he dresses them up with more traditional and vintage grabs. "I go to Select 18 in SoHo. It's great for inspiration, especially the random bins. I also like finding weird miscellaneous items in those tightly cramped malls in Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui. Sometimes you find the most random items there."

As an artist, Yuill has worked with a few fashion brands, including Adidas and Challenge Skateboards. His background as a skateboarder and snowboarder gives him an affinity with companies such as WeSC in Causeway Bay.

"Last summer I made some customised shoes, T-shirts and headphones by painting on them. I was taking part in one of their in-store art shows at the time," the artist says.

More recently, Yuill customised some headphones for the American brand Skullcandy as part of a travelling customised collectibles exhibition hosted in Hong Kong by Voxfire Gallery.

Living in this city for three years has changed Yuill's fashion sense. Hailing from the cooler climes of Canada, Hong Kong's heat and humidity is still an issue for the redhead. "In the heat, I just go simple with white T-shirts and shorts. But it's more than that which has changed my look."

Asked how he decides what to wear, Yuill says he uses the mix-and-match method.

"The only rule is that it passes the girlfriend test - if she says so, it must be OK," he says, laughing.

His biggest accessory is probably his sketchbook. Yuill says he avoids buying sunglasses as he tends to lose them, but regularly sports a pair that belong to his girlfriend, similar to those worn by Chow Yun-fat in John Woo Yu-sum's 1986 hit A Better Tomorrow.