Artistic duo Yok & Sheryo have taken new steps in immersive creativity by formulating an entire fictional world of ‘Yeahnahnesia’ that aims to give people a release from the constraints of everyday life – taking a step back to “squander time”. Their mythology boasts relaxation as concept, choosing to slow life down by withdrawing to a tropical paradise, a theme that is hard to resist.
The pair have long been designing work together with the idea being “Two heads are better than one. It has been a fun explosion of creativity from the get-go. We were already on the same wavelength aesthetically and in our values, so we have been riding the wave for 10-plus years now.”. The fluidity of the duo is not only is present in the collaborative theming, but becomes obvious given the extensive lore and output surrounding ‘Yeahnahnesia’; spawning fine art prints, sculpture, a mockumentary and other merchandise.
The designs themselves favour intricate symmetry in swirling formations to emphasise the tropical origin of the artwork. The red and white tiles were paired together across the city of New York in underground hotspots to draw in the eyes of fellow explorers in the hope of promoting a “permanent paradise” amongst the grey.
UNCLE partnered with the pair to bring a collection of their distinctive artworks to city streets for the month of December. With a concept like ‘Yeahnahnesia’ we were eager to talk to them to breakdown the beats of the ‘brand’ and enter their world.
TELL US MORE ABOUT THE TITLE OF THIS CAMPAIGN ‘YEAHNAHNESIA’.
Yok: Yeahnahnesia is an island nation forgotten to time, a rich culture spanning thousands of years, temples, totems and talismans never seen before, and the offering of a carefree and balanced way of life.
Sheryo: Yeahnahnesia was born in 2020 during the pandemic when everything seemed kind of bleak, it was part escapism and part creating a world we’d want to live in; inspired by 10 years of travelling – meeting really interesting people, visiting unexpected places and learning about all the amazing cultures! We created this place where everyone was welcome, and being weird and being yourself is embraced, living life on your own terms yada yada yada.
WHY WERE YOU INSPIRED TO CREATE THE LORE SURROUNDING THE PROJECT?
It has been a culmination of experiences, cultures, morals, and values we hold close to our hearts that have come from years of traveling around the globe. We have been researching without knowing for 10-plus years, collecting ideas subconsciously and physically in our overflowing sketchbooks. It’s fulfilling and exciting to take your concept and see how it works in every aspect of life, from the spiritual side, island’s rituals, gods, totems, to the everyday life of the islanders. Creating the book was a great way to expand the lore, the culture and the how, where, when and why of the Islanders of Yeahnahnesia.
HOW DID YOUR CONCEPT LEAD TO THE ART IS HAS?
The concept and the art go hand in hand, they are intertwined. The concept is a way to group all of our thoughts, feelings, and belief systems under one idea. We were already creating work in this creative space, and it wasn’t until we attempted to articulate it and try to explain and summarize our thoughts that Yeahnanhesia was discovered in a way.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO START WORKING TOGETHER?
Yok: How can you resist the power of a spray-painting babe?
Sheryo: How can you resist the power of a hot-blooded young man with strong spray-painting fingers.
HOW HAS WORKING AS A DUO SHAPED YOUR DESIGN PROCESS AND OUTPUT?
Yok: Two heads are better than one. It has been a fun explosion of creativity from the get-go. We were already on the same wavelength aesthetically and in our values, so we have been riding the wave for 10-plus years now. Seeing where it will take us, what medium it will uncover, what cultures we will investigate, which dark alleys to poke our noses into. The beauty of working as a duo is, if I’m lacking a specific skillset, Sheryo comes in and crushes with her diverse skills, and multi-cultural and language approach.
Sheryo: Yok taught me some heavy skills on how not to be a toy, he also tells me it’s okay to be myself and embrace my weird. So, we just get weird together and boom pow magic comes out!
WHAT IMPACT DOES THE CITY OF NEW YORK HAVE ON YOUR WORK?
Yok: It is like the fire underneath you to keep you pushing your work, it drives you harder than any other city we feel. It is inspiring to see people in your field at the top of their game pushing as hard as they can. Doing fresh work and surprising you, it makes you want to do better and better.
Sheryo: It is very hot and then it’s very cold. and then its dirty, grimy, super flashy. people are a little loco but that’s why I love it. NY Imperfect souls are the key to life, and creativity. No one day is the same.
WHAT ARE SOME HIDDEN GEMS IN NEW YORK YOU LOVE?
FAVOURITE THING ABOUT LIVING IN NEW YORK?
DOES CULTURE PLAY A KEY PART IN YOUR CREATIVITY?
ABSOLUTELY. it is the main source of inspiration.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE PEOPLE TAKE AWAY FROM THIS CAMPAIGN?
Yok: A thirst for travel.
Sheryo: They have to read the Yeahnahnesia book. Get a copy via our shop and get inspired and GET OUT THERE AND LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE.