Welcome to the wild world of Yonk

Based in the Netherlands, the artist duo behind Yonk are creating magical sculptural worlds using VR tools, and sharing their techniques with fans and clients as they go

The maximalist world of Yonk is populated with brightly coloured characters with shiny, squishy faces. Whether these playful creations are rendered as still images or shown in motion, they look like they’ve been painstakingly made from modelling clay, possibly by a whole team of designers and animators. In fact, all of Yonk’s creations are 3D designs conjured up by just two people, Vikki Young and Niels van der Donk, while the digital clay they use is hand-sculpted by the pair in virtual reality.

Based in The Hague, Young and van der Donk are a couple, and the studio name is a portmanteau of both their surnames. Young, who is from the UK, first met van der Donk at The Hague’s Royal College of Art while on an exchange programme with Central Saint Martins in London. Since founding Yonk in 2021, the pair have worked for a variety of clients and generated self-initiated projects which the studio shares across various platforms –alongside posting mini-tutorials and hour-long streams on YouTube – where they often work collaboratively in the VR space with other creators.

Having their work screened at the Demo Festival in Amsterdam in 2019 led Young and van der Donk to work on an identity project for It’s Nice That, and since then Yonk’s clients have become more international. Work for My/Mochi ice cream treats (for the Lovers agency), an Amazon Books campaign (with Droga5), and the creation of the brilliantly bizarre Spriteverse for Sprite (with Wieden+Kennedy São Paulo and the Youth Company) quickly established their unique and unusual abilities in 3D.

Top: Still from Spriteverse ad for Sprite, by Wieden+Kennedy São Paulo, directed by Yonk, © Sprite / The Coca-Cola Co, 2022. Above: Personal work. All images: Yonk