Having started as Johannesburg based dance crew, our imagination and skill reached beyond our first love, dance. Don’t be fooled by the moves that we’ve got; our artistic intelligence and artistic execution includes photography, videography, illustration, music and street art. With eyes, ears and movement that bring the imagination to life, our team was first founded by Darim da Paixao and Paul Nqambule in 2006 and has since grown to encompass the artistic skill of Nabeel Santos, Quaid “Flip” Jones, Sakhele Nkosi and Emmanuel Mutendji.
Mr Smile Paul Nqambule is the Co-founder of Artistic Intelligence. His dance speciality centres on Funk Styles. His tremendous accolades include having been the Two-time IDO Duo World Hip Hop Champion. Passionate about teaching, Paul is also a World Championship Dance Coach and is recognised for his creative concepts for the AI team.
The amusing Sakhele Nkosi is recognised for his love of Krump. Having been the MC for DJ Shutdown Mix Tape Launch and having been the Mibar Field Supervisor, Sak’s repertoire of experience entails having been a part of the marketing research campaign for TNMR and having been one of the instructors of the Wits Targeting Talent programme
The Eternal Student, Nabeel Santos, enjoys working out his smooth moves to a Hip Hop beat. He took second place in the Duo’s category for the prestigious South African Dance Teacher’s Association (SADTA) competition as well as fourth place in Electric Boogie. As a freelance dance teacher; Nabeel has also secured sponsorship for A.I from Strussbob and loves learning.
Versatility is what Emmanuel strives for. His loveof dance has enabled him to range his skills from smooth funk styles to getting down and buck! New style hip-hop and popping are Emmanuel’s strong points and all you need to do is play a little bit of music and watch him spring into life. Emmanuel has competed in various dance competitions and made it to the semi-finals of the IDO championships for Electric Boogie. “Dance like no one is watching” is Emmanuel’s favourite dance quote and believes that hard work and passion is the key to success.
The Hair, Quaid “Flip” Jones epitomises the spontaneous and creative B-boy. His specialty focuses on becoming the most sought after B-boy Instructor and Choreographer. His talents extend beyond dance and Quaid is a also a Designer, Videographer, photographer and Illustrator. He remains the undefeated SADTA Battle of the Giants B-Boy Champion and is passionate about Street Art. His work includes having been the Choreographer for Patience Williams music video and having been a part of the Hip Hop Express Channel O Promotion.
MA: What inspires and stimulates your creativity?
First and foremost; We would say the Hip-hop culture on its own is big place we can draw and get our creativity from, simply because of its elements it has. Also the fact that we are passionate and enjoy what we do makes it easy to stimulate our creativity, it doesn’t become a job.
MA: How has South Africa been an influence in your life and your work?
South Africa is very vibrant, colorful and has so many stories to tell, we have 11 official languages that come with their culture and influences. You go to Joburg, the city of lights, everyone is out to get “it”, streets are buzzing and that gives us the drive and push to do more, You go to Cape Town the art, talent and sub-cultures and cultures are out and about in the streets and inspire us to always think out the box and stay true what we do. In conclusion South Africa, it’s people, it’s provinces, it’s life style has influenced us in so many ways possible.
MA: What do the words “Converse” and “Cons” represent to you?
Raw street talent not confined by rules. Rebels with a cause. Sending a story or talking without speaking. Being Artistic
MA: Thoughts on Johannesburg being chosen for this awesome Cons project?
We think it’s a great project and concept! Although all the projects/ideas/activities under the cons project are not the same around the world, the artists share the same feeling and passion which is really amazing.
Back to the artistic avenue. Doing what we love, inspiring, sharing the knowledge and finding out different ways of being artistic.
MA: What has been the most memorable moment in your career?
Knowing that we are growing, having direction, and being able to inspire through the culture and art.