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Meet Jr Sarmiento of &SÜPA in Carson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jr Sarmiento.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Born and raised in Carson, CA in the early 90’s, I was heavily impacted by the crossing cultures of street-life and wealthy elitism. Carson, before what it is today, was a melting pot of minority races, most often gang or street affiliated. This resulted in exposure to graffiti, gang-violence, grunge, counter-culture influence.

Many troubled youth during my high school years, including myself, were looking for an outlet of expression, that oftentimes was harshly criticized. Growing up, I struggled to find my place in society. Who am I?

I played competitive tennis (which eventually got me a scholarship to UCLA), but deep down, I knew it wasn’t something I was passionate about.

I would bring my art books with me when I traveled and draw on my spare time. I would listen to CD’s/my iPod before I’d compete (oftentimes listening to those songs in my head as I played).

It was a confusing time. To my community at home because I played tennis (which is considerably a wealthy sport), I was considered too “white”. And amongst my tennis community, I was seen as too “hood.”

So I felt I didn’t really have a place, and Art was my escape.

In 2008, I created this alias “&SÜPA, as a representation of who I am and what I stand for.

Before its inception, while drawing in my art book, another artist saw what previous alias I was writing and said, “You can’t write that, that’s my name.” And, that’s when I realized no word/name thought of other than myself is truly original. So I worked to come up with something that represented me.

I was also inspired at the time by Myspace allowing us to write the javascript to our page to create a certain imagery. So if you wrote it would produce a return function. If you wrote &heart; it would produce a heart-character. So I thought… “if I did &[blank].. what would produce me?”

I wanted it to be creative, thoughtful, inspiring, and uplifting.

&happy? No that’s corny.

Stüssy was really popular at the time too and I liked the umlaut…

So… &Süper..

And then I jazzed it up a little bit to become &SÜPA…

So to me it stands for: “To be extraordinary,”

What is &SÜPA today?

It’s still / I am still discovering who I am. It started off as a graffiti name in high school, which later evolved into me pursuing street-fashion, which transformed into an experimentation of contemporary/abstract art, to currently an active musical pursuit in the underground-electronic music scene.

Artistically, &SÜPA is the fusion of concepts harmonized together and curated in a way that expresses my understanding of the cultures.

Has it been a smooth road?
Aside from feeling out of place with my “communities”, having parental disapproval of my pursuits has also been one of my hardest struggles to overcome.

When it is talked of “unconditional love”, society is led to think that there’s no stronger love than a parent’s love for their child.

But to feel rejected, disowned, and abandoned creates such questions towards one’s self-worth.

Like, why is what I like, not good enough for you? Why can you not accept me for who I am and my decision making? Is it my life to live or yours?

It’s frustrating because I live with a chip on my shoulder thinking I have to “prove” myself but then does that go against me doing this for myself or for others.

Striving for what we want in our life is such an introspective adventure.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with &SÜPA – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
&SÜPA is a creative label created in Los Angeles, CA.

Initially, we were recognized for our advances in streetwear and street culture. We recently completed our first solo art exhibition in Downtown Los Angeles which sold out completely. We had over 300 in attendance, sales of merchandise and artwork, launching of our online portfolio with email newsletter (gaining an audience of over 200-people in first couple months), AND completed our first large scale corporate mural for Print Renegade, a print shop located in the Arts District of LA.

What sets us apart from others is our lack of comparison to anyone else. We walk our own footsteps — copying no one. We listen and dance to our own beat. I mean, we take influence from the world around us, but copying is not what we do.

We aspire to be different. We aspire to be unique. We aspire to be extraordinary.

What that means is that we believe that we are all individually gifted with certain “things” exclusive to us alone and it’s almost our responsibility to bring that out and share and expose to the world what we have to offer. Because what we have to offer individually is truly unique to us and is in no comparison to the next person.

So our goal is to create a community of leaders, pioneers, and tastemakers all striving to be our best.. to discover and or be the extraordinary.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
What I love about Los Angeles is the accessibility to infinite opportunity.

What I dislike about our city is lack of authentic connection and community. We attract many acquaintances but have very few people in our inner circle that will make sacrifices for one other to maintain the integrity of our community. We call these people fake; people who don’t follow through. It’s very easy to be disconnected and uncommital in our city. So easy to move onto the next thing and the next without respect to commitment or desire for monogamy.

Contact Info:

  • Website: nsjpa.com
  • Email: jr@nsjpa.com
  • Instagram: @nsjpa
  • Twitter: @nsjpa

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