2017.11.30
BY hanna

Celebrating SMIB: GHQST

From three young mavericks to creators of culture

Introduction

The boys were once connected by growing up in the Bijlmer: Ray, who still lives there; Georgy, who now lives in the center of Amsterdam; and Quincy, who now lives in the north of the city. Today, they are connected by how they think and what they want in life. They are connected by their way of life, a lifestyle that is the result of their creation: SMIB.

Go back two years, to 2015, and discover the ideologies and beliefs of SMIB.
A group of young artists and entrepreneurs who grew up with seemingly all odds stacked against them yet inexplicably have them all in their favour.

What were once just three peculiar boys from a marginalised neighbourhood of Amsterdam has become SMIB Worldwide. Their idiosyncrasies, desire to do good and their deep-rooted social engagement led to a colourful uprising of young people on the fringes of society.

They pair up with fashion labels and perform at festivals; they’ve created their own stage. So much so, that they now proudly present their first exhibition, giving insight into their self-made universe through their work and inspirations.

As they have grown, so has their following. A following of what might be described as a group of misfit youngsters, not sure of their place in the world but determined to excel in their lifetime. This group might be their most successful creation yet: a subculture.

Two years ago our art director Hanna Eenhoorn, a photographer and creator, noticed them at the beginning of their promising careers. She interviewed Rayvel Pieternella, Georgy Dendoe and Quincy Ofosu on their beliefs, backgrounds, and futures all the while painting a picture of these young visionaries set against the backdrop of their boyhood homes. Celebrate with us, and take a look at the origins of the platform, movement, and family: SMIB.

Introduction written by Imogen Mills

Click here to see what SMIB is up to at the moment

Click here to buy tickets for their expo

2015

In the Bijlmer, in Amsterdam, something fascinating is happening. In what is a place closed to outsiders, hidden away amongst the grey blocks of flats, a new subculture is developing. The Bijlmer is a neighbourhood in the southeast of Amsterdam, a neighbourhood long associated with stereotypes of poverty, crime, and danger. At one time this created a tangible rift between the Bijlmer’s residents and the rest of the city. But now this predominantly black neighbourhood is seeing a new generation that aims to challenge these preconceptions.

The Netherlands has not seen a substantial rise of any subculture for years

The Netherlands has not seen a substantial rise of any subculture for years. Amsterdam has become a melting pot of intertwined cultures without a distinguishing identity, creating a town of mere individuals who do not belong to a certain group. However, this has recently begun to change at the hands of an unexpected group: SMIB, a new movement of young men that creates an artistic and diverse lifestyle. SMIB is inspired by skateboarding and punk, in combination with the new do-it-yourself, makers movement, through which individuals can express themselves in a group of like-minded people. The word SMIB comes from the word Bims, but backwards, which is slang for the Bijlmer. Together and individually, they create music, art, fashion, videos, photos and much more.

Some would describe a few of the members as the misfits of the Bijlmer, a description they themselves seem to embrace. This neighbourhood nourishes a street culture that values and respects status. But SMIB’s focus on creativity and personal interests doesn’t leave room for social ranking in this way. Members of the SMIB movement try to push each other to follow their dreams and make the most of life.The SMIB crowd stands out from the other Bijlmer inhabitants in terms of the way they dress, too, and this is something they are recognised by.

Their sense of style has been picked up by I-D Magazine, GlamCult magazine, the streetwear brand Patta, stylist Bonne Reijn and more.

The movement attracts young people that feel that they don’t fit within the norms and values upheld by the majority of the neighbourhood.

The movement attracts young people that feel that they don’t fit within the norms and values upheld by the majority of the neighbourhood. The SMIB community is now gaining more followers every day, which leaves the boys to slowly change the negative stereotypes through their creativity and unique attitudes. They are independent creators, they don’t want to be confined to a business or record label that already has a name, and where they would have to adapt to conform to institutional demands. They want to have freedom and act as individuals who also come together as a group of people who support each other, even if they don’t like what the other is making.

As a new subculture that previously has only been reported upon in the media about their artistic creations and sense of style, it is compelling to learn about the people and their intentions behind the movement: it is much more than a group of young men creating music. By following and experiencing SMIB, this magazine offers a set of feature articles that shed light on these individuals, and in so doing, give an impression of the group as a whole and its diversity. SMIB’s members are true interdisciplinary artists. For them, SMIB is not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle – a lifestyle that seems almost more important than their creations: the lifestyle is the art.

They are connected by their way of life, a lifestyle that is the result of their creation: SMIB.

GHQST
Quincy Ofosu
19 years old*

This rapper has a lot to say and a lot of love to give. He is a gentle and honest guy, which is something that becomes evident when he interacts with his girlfriend, whom he keeps close. He seems to take his relationships with friends and other people seriously, as much as he does his music. “Music is timeless, and it’s a beautiful thing that in ten years people can still listen to what you created today.” His music is mostly about storytelling and less about trying to become well known or creating a hit song. He’s in it for the long run, not just to be famous for a short period of time. He is very dedicated to his music; it is his life. Although he appears to be a gentle guy in a conversation, he shows a different side of his personality in his music: a passionate young adult who is not afraid of anything, “the speakers are here to speak, the followers are here to follow.”

 

“the speakers are here to speak, the followers are here to follow.”

He understands his role in motivating other young people to do what they love; he is conscious of his existence and says he is an open-minded person, which may be what makes him different to other rappers. This is made obvious by how he treats everyone the same and isn’t trying to prove anything to anyone: he just does what he loves, standing at the forefront of a possibly great career, appreciating every little step he takes. He appears genuinely thankful to see everyone that comes to see him at a SMIB performance and shares nice things fans say about him on social media. He emphasises the importance of creativity amongst young people, and how everything we do today will influence the future.

 

“An entrepreneur is someone who does something that contributes to society, so that’s what I am.”

He sees himself as an entrepreneur, “An entrepreneur is someone who does something that contributes to society, so that’s what I am.” He doesn’t think he would ever fully succeed in life, however, because to him that means that he has seen everything and tasted all the food the world has to offer. And that would never be possible because there is always more. His eagerness to see the world is interesting, considering the fact that he just crossed the Netherlands’ borders for the first time in his life: to a wedding in Belgium. His desire to travel is a wish that he shares with his SMIB colleagues. When he talks about them, you can see what they mean to him. Being able to work together but alone, too, works perfectly for him. He describes them as his family, which is something that developed naturally, “I didn’t join SMIB, SMIB has evolved out of us”.

 

“I didn’t join SMIB, SMIB has evolved out of us”.

Text and photos by Hanna Eenhoorn

Text edited by Imogen Mills

*at the time the article was written, in 2015, Quincy was 19 years old

Click here to see what SMIB is up to at the moment

Click here to buy tickets for their expo

Follow Quincy on Instagram