I’m sure you’ve all had a moment of semantic satiation; that point in which you’ve said or written a word so many times that it just seems wrong.
The way it sounds, the way it’s spelled, it’s definition… all of it suddenly seems ridiculous. Almost weekly I have this feeling about the word ‘creator’ – especially when it’s preceded by the word ‘content’.
Yes, I’m very aware of the fact that I am indeed a content creator. But often, usually thanks to social media, I need to remind myself that there are various levels of creator within the word very broad definition.
It might be self-deprecating, but I don’t think what I do – or what a lot of content creators do, but let me lay under this bus alone – is on par with those that create with their hands. I have a lot of aids in my craft, photo manipulation software, spell checkers, and poor souls like my editor, Brad.
But when you’re bringing something that exists in your mind into the physical realm, you’re required to be equally a master of your thoughts and motor skills. Some, I’d argue most, have a mastery of one but not always the other.
See the last time you played Pictionary for evidence that the hand doesn’t always do what the mind wants.
Effectively bringing ideas to life takes more than just vision. It requires craftsmanship, often some level of engineering, and a touch of artistry. All of us can get lucky making something once or twice. A broken clock is right twice a day, but consistently bringing thoughts to life requires dedication, practice, and persistence.
Each of these traits play an integral part in the creation, growth and ultimately success of New Jersey’s SUPRLIFE Studio.Extraordinary
Kemal, or ‘K’ if you’ll recall from his recent Aristo feature, spent five years as an apprentice mastering the various talents anyone who aims to works in auto body needs to hone. At his own shop there is sanding dust on the floor, as well as the familiar smell of hardener and accelerants, but a rather direct message greets everyone at the shop’s front counter.
Not a Body Shop.
Those words are a reminder to both the customers and staff that SUPRLIFE Studio is so much more than an operation that slings paint.
Body shops typically keep their lights on via calamity-based insurance work. If you need a dent blown in, SUPRLIFE is certainly capable, but they’d rather send you a few doors down to someone who wants to do that kind of work.
K and his team are the guys you visit when you want to color slightly, or completely outside of the box.
Yes, SUPRLIFE Studio is known for making custom fender flares, but no two they complete are the same. Each is crafted for the specific needs of that vehicle, be it show, track, or both. More importantly, where applicable each is done in metal, and they’re blended into the body rather than being bolted on.
At the shop, half measures don’t exist. With each flare or body revision the lines of the overall vehicle are taken into consideration. One change often forces other changes down the line, but for the sake of a more cohesive product those further modifications are not overlooked.
Naturally, the creativity at SUPRLIFE doesn’t stop with pushing cars out horizontally. One of their most significant recent endeavors lurks within a somewhat unassuming Toyota Aristo.
There are a lot of modifications present on this car that don’t leap out immediately, but perhaps some of you have noticed a rather defining mod already.
Suicide doors are not a straightforward undertaking. If you attended any import show in the late ’90s, then you’ve probably seen a poorly done job. Because doors – especially luxury sedan doors – are not light.
Telltale signs of a less-than-stellar conversion include a limiting strap running from pillar to door, along with a discreetly-placed object at the end of the door to hold it up.
Not here, the three man crew painstakingly reworked the quarter panel structures, outer door skins, inner door skins, and door jambs to ensure the suicide doors open and close as if they were factory. The owner had been turned down by several ‘custom’ shops before SUPRLIFE Studio delivered on what was previously deemed impossible.
When Keiron visited the shop, the Aristo was nearing mechanical completion; the flares on the blue R33 had just began; and a Y51 Infiniti was receiving a final buff after having its body kit fitted, fenders widened, and paint resprayed.
Since then the Infiniti has left, replaced by a rare Hartge H35-24 BMW E30 that’s in for a subtle refresh. The doors of the Aristo have also been completed, and pleased with the work the owner has commissioned SUPRLIFE to take things even further.Inspiration is All Around
Inspiration at the shop comes from everywhere. Obviously Japan is a huge source of influence, and K has had the chance to break bread with some of the best. But being solely influenced by Japan would result in a somewhat cookie-cutter shop, so K and crew continually seek new ideas from the environment that surrounds them.
Their goal is to be better than those that provided their inspiration.
The waiting area is as much a display of past work as it is a bit of an art gallery. Not everything within the display cases or on the walls has a practical application, but all of it feeds into what makes that atmosphere at SUPRLIFE unique.
A nothing-is-off-limits mindset is what keeps K and his collective of craftsman busy, as does the idea that they can all safely say ‘no’. The shop is in the fortunate position to be able to turn down work that isn’t where they want to head. Suffering through a job they are not passionate for does everyone a disservice.
They key takeaway from our visit is that SUPRLIFE Studio is that good enough is never good enough, and the bar they hope to surpass is somewhere up in the clouds.
Photos by Keiron Berndt