Nationality: Dutch

José Vonk lives and works in Amsterdam. She was born in Utrecht and studied graphic design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, where she specialised in animation and illustration. She graduated in 1977 and that same year she founded a company DE DAMES ('The Ladies') together with Helga Kos and Lidewij Frijlink. In this capacity she worked for publishers, monthly and weekly magazines and for a range of television broadcasting companies. In 1986 she collaborated with Helga Kos and celebrated Dutch comic actor and writer Paul Haenen on the independent animation film 'Welte rusten schat' ('Sleep tight, dear'). This film was nominated for a Dutch Gouden Kalf award in 1987 and was awarded a Metion by the Centre National de la Cinématographie in Paris in 1988. Around this time, José took over De Dames as a one-woman business, working for a range of customers, most extensively for educational and cultural productions in Dutch public television broadcasting (NOS-School TV, VARA-TV, NOS-Cultuur, KRO-TV, NOT-TELEAC, Meulenhof-AV). Between 1983 and 1996 she published a cartoon page entitled De Dames in the feminist monthly OPZIJ. In 1994 this work was compiled into a comic album and published by De Harmonie, under the title 'IK BEN / IK WAS' ('I am / I was').

In 1997 José Vonk started combining her commissioned work with autonomous projects, work which centers on perception as a focus of investigation. This creative process resulted in elongated 'Reis tekeningen' ('Travel drawings') and collages, in which the work reveals itself as the viewer moves in relation to it. Her work was exhibited in Amsterdam, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Rotterdam and The Hague. At the same time she began to explore the effect of the individual frame of film on perception. In 2000 she made ANTI HELDEN (Anti-heroes), a short animation film for De Kunststichting art foundation in The Hague and asked Hans Muller to compose the music. Her collaboration with Hans continued for her next two films TWEELUIK 1 – 'Dutch light' and TWEELUIK 2 – 'Nymphaion'. These films can be regarded as a further investigation of the effect of the projected image on perception, with particular reference to colour. In the summer of 2004, she made the animation film TRAFFIC, taking the music of Hans Muller as her point of departure. In 2005 they worked together on an experimental project in cooperation with the Museum Van Speelklok tot Pierement, (National Museum From Musical Clock to Street Organ) in Utrecht. The film SHORT CIRCUIT was projected in the museum during the National Dutch Film Festival in the autumn of 2005, with the music played by a Flemish/Dutch fairground organ named ’De Schuyt’. It took 3 years to make the film FENCES, again with music by Hans Muller. The film is about an optical illusion: The spokes of a wheel which are viewed in motion through a series of vertical bars, assume the optical illusion of a curvature of the spokes. This illusion is better known as ‘the Fence Phenomenon’ wich was first observed en described by J.M. (john Murray) in 1821 and was the overture of the invention of film in 1895. FENCES had its première at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in January 2009.

José Vonk has taught at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy since 1986 and joined the board of the Rietwood Foundation in 1992.


2009 / 35mm / color / sound / single screen / 6' 00 / 28 €
distribution: 35mm
2005 / 16mm / color / sound / single screen / 5' 00 / 43 €
distribution: 16mm
DUTCH LIGHT - (Tweeluik 1)
2004 / 16mm / color / sound / single screen / 7' 00 / 25 €
distribution: 16mm
NYMPHAION - (Tweeluik 2)
2004 / 16mm / color / sound / single screen / 5' 00 / 23 €
distribution: 16mm
2004 / 16mm / color / sound / single screen / 5' 00 / 23 €
distribution: 16mm
2000 / 16mm / color / sound / single screen / 1' 00 / 17 €
distribution: 16mm