23.08.17 by Aneeqah Samsodien
Chclt has the scoop on the latest Thuggery drop; we chat to designer and graffiti artist Quasiem Gamiet AKA Fersyndicate, about growing up in an environment that did not support creativity and growing up living his best life by his rules.
Quasiem graduated from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology with a National Diploma in Graphic Design. He dove straight into the working world and completed his first major campaign for the Cape Town Festival. Fersyndicate worked in the publishing industry for a while on many magazine titles like Mens Health, GQ and Cosmopolitan. With diverse experience in different industries and how they operate, Quasiem had a hunger to learn; he tried something new every year, while working on freelance projects at night.
Why did you decide to go solo?
Time is the most valuable commodity for me these days. Since I was blessed with a daughter, I realise that more and more. I wanted time to spend with my family, personal projects and having to choose what I want to work on (well, sometimes). Not having to answer to a boss and working in my own time frames are also pretty refreshing.
Why the name Fersyndicate?
I prefer using a pseudonym because there is a sense of mystery and I feel it gives more attention to the work. I’m all about the work at the end of the day. Fersyndicate just breaks down my personality and the way I approach projects. I like a bit of laughter with a nice balance of structured seriousness. Sometimes it’s just nice to be “versin”.
What indicators were there when you were growing up that pointed in the direction of art?
I had zero interest in academics, even though I was at an academic school which didn’t offer art as a subject. My notebooks were covered in drawings in grade 12; I had to get study guides for every subject in my final year of schooling. I was always attracted to anything creative growing up.
How does your history affect the artist you are today?
Growing up in a Malay household, art wasn’t celebrated. My father was a carpenter that worked in construction. I come from a long line of hard manual labourers. I went against the grain, so it was a challenge all round. I paid my own tuition by working whilst studying. I never really thought about it until now, but I am exactly like my father. I inherited his work ethic. Always working and never sitting still. The only difference is I have softer hands.
Graffiti plays a big role in your life; How would you describe your aesthetic? How did you fall into your ‘style’ of graffiti?
Yeah, graffiti does have a huge role in my life. It’s like my personal vacation from everything. My style is simple and bold. I like painting clear and legible pieces. Not too cryptic, with enough vigor to punch you in the face. I also paint loads of characters. I enjoy this style because I experimented with many styles over the years and I always went back to simple letterforms. Graffiti writers are the most honest people out there too; so, if your shit is bad someone will tell you. Which steers your style in a nice direction usually.
We heard that you like sneakers; what would you say are your top three styles?
I like runners, usually older models and sometimes super high tech ones. My taste changed lately though, I’ve been getting into simpler styles mainly with vulcanised soles.
When did Thuggery start and what was the idea behind it?
Thuggery is a personal project that I started in 2010. Long story short, someone said I dressed like a thug and won’t succeed in life dressed like that. I thought about how rappers are usually promoting high end products and how high fashion is usually influenced by street wear. Basically how low end, meets high end. I went home that day and designed a few tees a the rest is history. It started out with a few tees and branched out to a few more products. I drop something whenever I find time or feel the need.
You did a new drop recently, tell us about it,
The new stuff is laid back. I usually design printed stuff but decided to make more chilled items this time around. It’s a pocket tee and hoody with woven labels. I used the old “beware of the dog” sign on the label. I always admired that graphic, so I stole it. I like the idea of putting iconic graphics and placing them in another context. I also made a printed long sleeve tee with a BMW burning. I stole that from a certain TV series and created my own treatment of that visual. Kinda the same approach as the dog logo.
How do people get their hands on the Thuggery merch?
On the Thuggery Facebook store or hit me up directly via email, Whatsapp etc.