The Yok /   Unknown


Urban Art, Street Art, Graffiti, Sculpture

The Yok
April 6, 2014
Ok, I know it's so damn corny to quote somebody just to describe yourself, let alone Confucius, but this quote says all about my relationship with Widewalls, so forgive me for doing this: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Am I forgiven?

Yok is the word that comes in many flavors – in Chinese it means Jade, in Yiddish is an insult, and in the street art world it’s a name that stands for an Australian artist, The Yok, who deliberately took the name with no personal story behind it or any meaning for the artist whatsoever. Coming from the small suburb near Perth, when moved to New York, The Yok brought in his luggage his passion for loopy moustaches, seaworthy beards and potato headed rad lads. He first started painting some pretty loose figurative pieces in his small studio in Fremantle, Western Australia. At the time, one of his major influences was a street artist Req-1. Today, he lives in New York and produces detailed illustrations, Shellac-based ink drawings, and canvases. He is a part of an artistic duo with her fellow artist Sheryo.

The Yok’s characters are recognizable by loopy moustaches

The Yok - Untitled, photo credits
The Yok – Untitled, photo credits

Exploring Different Cultures

Growing up fueled up by Ren and Stimpy cartoons and skateboarding graphics, his work is very influenced by these early period of life. He has been studied at Curtin University where he received the bachelor degree in arts. He has participated in numerous street art festivals around the world and his work was shown in many big cities, like Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Shanghai, Taiwan, Tokyo, New York and London. Born in Perth, Australia, he travelled around South East Asia and Africa, exploring different cultures. One of these trips brought him the acquaintance with Sheryo, who became his inseparable friend and coworker.

The Nasty Goreng is a product of cooperation with Sheryo

The Yok - The Nasty Goreng (installation view), photo credits
The Yok – The Nasty Goreng (installation view), photo credits

Ancient Techniques and Tatoo Design

The Yok and Sheryo work from their Brooklyn studio, but most time they travel together, looking for adventures and getting know other people customs and folklore. Exhibition The Nasty Goreng appears as a result of their visit to Indonesia where they explored the traditional shadow puppet theatre and ancient technique of batik, a method of pattering fabric using a wax -resist dyeing. Connecting the forgotten ways of creating with their characteristic styles of tattoo design and comic illustrations, this exhibition also included the wooden sculpture inspired with Indonesian tradition.

The Yok - Untitled, photo via
The Yok – Untitled, photo via

Moustaches, Beards and Potato Head

Beginning his career of a street artist with a loose figurative pieces, The Yok found Req-1’s work as a huge influence. That created the basics of his current artwork with his recognizable characters. Moving to New York, he found a wider audience and international recognition of his work, but suburb near Perth was the place where he developed a passion for loopy moustaches, seaworthy beards and potato headed gargoyles. The partnership with Sheryo enabled him to find a new kind of inspiration arose from the mutual complementarity.

The Yok is represented by Street Art Anarchy.

The Yok lives and works in New York.

Featured image © Grand Flavour
All images used for illustrative purpose only

YearExhibition titleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2014Street Art Festival Wynwood, MiamiGroup
2014Nasty Goreng LA Superchief Gallery, New YorkDuo
2014Nasty Goreng NY Krause Gallery, New YorkDuo
2014ART RESIDENCY Yogyakarta, IndonesiaDuo
2014Nasty Goreng Sheryo The Yok Turner Galleries, Perth, AustraliaDuo
2013Women on the Walls Wynwood Walls, Miami, USAGroup
2013MURAL PAINTING Wynwood Walls, Wynwood Block, NW26th & 3rd Ave, Miami, USAGroup
2013MURAL PAINTING Max Fish Pop-up, South Beach, Miami, USAGroup
2013CREATIVE CONFERENCE Artlab, Perth, AustraliaGroup
2013Let's Smoke some beers Temp Gallery, New York, USAGroup
2013Neon Golden Above Second Gallery, Hong KongGroup
2013White Canvas Project London, UKGroup
2013Propa Stuff Cambridge, UKGroup
2013Pipe Dreams Krause Gallery, New York, USADuo
2013Art in Public Places Chicago, USAGroup
2013SCOPE Art Fair, New York, USAGroup
2013Hotel Pakololo mural painting Puerto Escondido, MexicoGroup
2013Anonymous Festival Sayulita, MexicoGroup
2012Enter the Prism Cambodia, Singapore, Vietnam, Australia, Dubai, Mexico, USAGroup
2012Tiger Translate Party Tiger Beer, DubaiSolo
2012Half Half No Vacancy Gallery, Melbourne, AustraliaGroup
2012Corpse Corps Urban Legends Signal Gallery, New York, USAGroup
2015 Scope Todd Masters Gallery NYSolo
2014Art Basel Miami Mural painting MiamiSolo
2014Nasty Goreng Superchief Gallery, LASolo
2014Nasty Goreng Perth AustraliaSolo
2013Art Basil Miami Mural painting Wynwood Walls and Wynwood DoorsGroup
2013Clemnti House Art Residency Yogyakarta Batik works Group
2012WONDER WALLS Festival, Woolonggong, Australia Group
2012Enter the Prism Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, National mural painting tourDuo
2012Crest Art Show Brooklyn Group
2011Little lotus Project ThailandSolo
2011OUTPOST festival Cockatoo island, Sydney Group
2011Tiger Translate Beijing Group
2010Pachinko Little Creatures Gallery,Perth Solo
2010Mixed Business, Part of Semi Permanent Event Sydney, Ambush GalleryGroup
2009Beastman,Numskull, Phibs, The YokSydney, Ambush GalleryGroup
2009Such is Life Melbourne Greenwood Gallery Group
2008Good Times Roll Bread Box Gallery, PertSolo
2008Bangkok Street ConnectionBangkokGroup
2007NO COMPLY Melbourne Skateboard exhibition at Federation Square Group
2006Kingbrown Magazine Launch 2Melbourne Group
2006Spring Street Wooster collectrive show at an abandoned building in New York Group
2005SNEAKER PIMPS, Custom shoe exhibition Hong KongGroup
2005PUNK YOK SHOWRancho Notorious, MelbourneSolo
2005IDN GALLERY Royal Elastics Show, New ZealandGroup
2004THE EGO TRIPPER SHOW China Heights Gallery, Sydney Group
2003THE 2 BUCK SHOP Our Spot, Sydney Group
2003PAINT THE TOWN DEAD Sydney Group
2002STICK EM UP Revolver, Melbourne Group
2001INVISIBLE CITIES New York, Berlin, Perth Group