Carolina Argueta’s first interview with a skateboard magazine was on Sunday the 28th of July’18 and it so happened to be the day her son Sean Pablo was having a get together / press day about his now released colorway with Converse. Luckily, they were kind enough to fly us out to the city that never sleeps.
A moment before Carolina and her son arrived in the hotel lobby, she was sitting poolside, taking it easy while having a drink. The rays of joy she was exhuming while she walked into the room are saying a lot about the way she looks at life. A very positive, attractive and proud woman was sitting in front of us and we immediately forgot that we were in a press meeting about Sean’s new colorway of the CTAS.
A few moments later, after we were done talking, we visited a Tiki-themed bar called “Otto’s Shrunken Head” on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It was there that Carolina told all her friends that she was super nervous during our interview. Well, that was definitely not the case. I guess professionalism and being humble is in Sean’s family’s DNA.
Photos by Danny Sommerfeld / Interview by Daniel Pannemann
Why did you decide to move to NYC?
When I came to NYC for the very first time I didn’t have a place to stay. I was just in Paris and on my way back to the States, where I decided to give Dylan Rieder a call. I knew he had a room and he was traveling so much at the time, so I called and he was immediately cool with it. He even asked if I didn’t wanna stay there for a longer time, so he just sublet the entire apartment to me and that’s how I got here.
Carolina, how did you feel about that? Him leaving the nest and moving to the other side of the continent, seemingly all of a sudden at this young age?
C: It was hard because I feel like Sean is living the life of a 25-year-old for the last five years, or so. He was so young when he left. And now he already has this other apartment living on his own, but he’s not even 21. It’s hard for me because I feel like he left so quickly. I had no chance to even get used to it – he just left.
Do you get to visit him a lot out here?
C: Well, he’s coming to visit me a lot
S: I’m sort of living bi-coastal. I’m always in L.A. but I really like to spend the summer in New York. It’s just so much fun here, I don’t wanna leave.
C: I was in L.A. for Thanksgiving. We stayed all at his house and made a Thanksgiving dinner all together and that was really lovely.
S: Mum, you should see the apartment now.
C: I heard you have new patio furniture? He has a very nice apartment for NYC Standards.
S: It is pretty big, yeah. It’s bigger than the balcony we are sitting on right now. Probably twice the size.
C: When I was there, we decorated the kitchen. I give him some cooking tools and a few things he really needed to have.
(Sean found a sticker saying “congrats” and he put it on my phone. Sean: It’s a gift from me, I just found it.)
Speaking of gifts, Sean. We just bought something for you guys to doodle on and I’m sure that at least Sean is very familiar with this. Also, It would be nice if you (Carolina) could doodle on it too.
S: I wish dad was here now, he could help us out. He’s the creative guy in the family.
C: Yeah Brendan is a true artist. He’s a painter.
S: Yeah my dad is helping me a lot with my brand “Paradise”. I’m doing most of the drawings’ tho, But he’s taking care of a lot of things actually. It’s pretty much just me and my dad running the whole thing. He is doing the website and stuff. It’s a family-owned business.
C: Sean? What is this thing? Is that from skating?
S: Yeah I don’t know, I just have a lot of wounds. Don’t even worry about it.
Have you seen all of Sean’s tattoos?
S: No, she hasn’t.
C: Well, I think at least all of the ones visible. He has all these little things and I keep telling him to stop.
Jerome Campbell, Converse TM, interjects.
JC: Well that doesn’t really help. That way he probably just wants more.
S: I’m Sorry.
JC: Maybe you should tell him to do more?
C: I tell him to stop because right now he’s very young but once he gets older he might not want them anymore. By then he will have a different view on things. In ten years, all of his tattoos might be irrelevant. Because, right now, his brain is not fully evolved yet.
S: Maybe that’s the point.
JC: Just imagine how they are all going to look ten years from now.
S: I think they gonna look just great.
JC: What about 40 years?
S: I don’t really have any big ones, tho’.
How was it seeing Sean growing up, starting to skate and doing his own thing at a very young age?
C: I was really worried because he was just ten or eleven and I’m a teacher, so that was really worrisome and his dad was just like “Let him do it, it’s ok”.
Did you teach Sean from home?
C: Well, his dad did that, because I had to work every day, so Brandon was home-schooling him for a few years during High-school. They were watching Charles Bukowksi movies together and all kinds of documentaries. It wasn’t very traditional, to say the least.
S: It felt more like a friendship yeah. But he is my dad, tho’. It was still scary when he got mad at me and stuff.
That’s not particularly a bad thing, I guess. How many times does Sean call you when he’s gone?
C: We are texting a lot because kids are all about texting these days. We talk every now and then but it’s actually hard to get him on the phone. He’s always saying that he is going to call me back later and then two days will go by and then I won’t hear from him. Mostly I’m worried about if he’s healthy and eating right.
Is he living a healthy lifestyle?
JC: I did buy him a juice today.
S: Yeah, Jerome bought me a smoothie this morning.
C: That’s good, thank you. But yeah, he’s a good boy. A very good kid.
What’s your first memory of Sean skating?
C: He was gonna get one of those scooter kids toys, the ones with the handlebars on it. He was about to get into that and Brendan was like “No, man. You can’t do that – you have to get a skateboard, Sean!” And so he did. Sometimes after skating he came home super happy and was like “Mum, I learned how to Ollie.” And all the other trick names and that was really cute. Then at other times, he would be gone with his friends for the whole weekend although he had to finish a school project.
S: I was getting good grades until I started skating.
But, did you finish school in the end?
S: To some degree, I did, yeah. But it’s a grey area. No official diploma, or anything. But I have passed the practical test. Now it’s just a matter of me going in and taking the test. One day I will.
C: Yeah. I made that appointment quite a few times but he didn’t go because he was traveling and working on his career, which turned out well you know. But I still hope that at one point he’s going back to school to finish it all and will start something specific to his interest like for example design or art. I want him to become an educated person.
S: How was the first time you met Sage (Elsesser) How old were we?
C: Uhm, I don’t really know!? Eleven, twelve? But he was really innocent and sweet and I have met his mum quite a few times as well, she is really cool. And now he is this really amazing skater. He is so though. He reminds me of Jim Kelley – A karate guy from back in the days.
C: But I think I just messed up the whole shoe. I was gonna make an “S” but it turned out to become an “E” instead – now it is saying “Eastside”. But, talking about Sean in school, he still has all of his middle school and high school friends from back in the days in Los Angeles and I’m friends with their mums.
So every now and then you will meet all together? A real “skate-mum” get together?
C: Haha. Well, we did. We had a few meetings.
S: This one time we all got arrested for hopping this fence at a school.
C: No, it wasn’t a school. It was the LAPD station near our house in Los Angeles. It got renovated and they jumped the fence of the police station because they had all this wood laying around and little ramps and stuff… Obviously, they got in trouble with the cops. The police came right away all the kids ended up having to sit in the cop car, and that weekend Aidan’s (Mackey) mum organized a meeting with all of us. We all wanted to make sure that we always know where our kids are. It was like a two-hour meeting, but soon after that, we gave that up. We knew we couldn’t keep them from hopping fences anyways. We were just all worried about them because they didn’t care about anything other than skating at this point.
S: This is a true story. But where did you learn how to draw like that?
C: I grew up in Echo Park, Sean.
You said Sage is a tough guy. How would you describe Sean’s style on a skateboard?
C: I don’t really know any trick names and all that. But I know that he just has a great style. The way his body moves and the arms, I really like that. Plus he is so gorgeous, look at him!
( All laughing.)
And what is your favorite clip of him skating?
S: You like “Cherry”, right?
C: I like “Cherry” a lot. It’s amazing. That was a proud mum moment. Getting invited to the premiere in Hollywood. It was at the “Egyptian Theather”. I invited a few of my friends to go along and we were really proud of Sean. When I’m in school and we have some free time with my class I sometimes ask “Guys, you wanna see my son?” And I just show them a little something. They always seem to be very impressed with that. They are all like – “Oh my god, this is your son? Hook us up!” or “Get your son to come and talk to us” And that one time he actually came into a class and he helped me teach.
S: Did I really? Was I just pointing at stuff?
That is probably a pretty smart way for you to gain respect among the kids in class?
C: Yeah, I’m just a regular teacher with a very cool son. Especially boys know him, of course. Especially the last couple of years. Sometimes Sean gives me a few stickers I can take with me to give out after a lesson if they did well. Supreme stickers, they are really happy about that (laughs).
Did you know about his colorway on Converse CONS?
C: I didn’t really. But I knew that he was facing a deadline and they kept asking for images. He buckled down and just did it. It’s been a year or so. He had to send all these pictures and ideas.
How long have you been working on the design?
S: I always had this idea to do it. But, it took a while to actually make it work. I always kind of drew on my chucks and all of a sudden they were hitting me up about doing something. The one I’m wearing is the limited version. That one you can only get at Supreme in NYC and L.A. There is also a red and a white one but the pink one is the limited one. They have been sending me all these different colors of the shoe and I would love to make more of these. There are so many more color options!
Are you going to get a pair as well, Carolina?
C: Yeah I will get a pair. And all my friends want a pair as well and all the kids in the class, of course. We get a lot of boxes of shoes to the house but they are all his size so I’m always asking like “Sean, can you get me some shoes?” And he did order me some but they messed up the order, unfortunately. They didn’t send the right thing, haha.
S: We have to do something about this, Jerome!
If you would have to interview your son and you could ask him anything, what would it be?
C: I would say.. hmm. How do you make sure that you don’t let all this go to your head? Because I don’t want him to become arrogant or stuck up. I just want him always be in control about everything. Be aware of his surrounding.
JC: That’s not a question.
C: How do you stay so cute and humble?
S: I don’t know!? I guess you guys did a good job.
C: Oh, and by the way, did you tell them about you getting a new job now? Tell them!
S: Yeah, well. I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about this. I will start to work at Supreme. I will get a desk in the design department. I’m going to sit there now once a week.
C: Will you wear a suit to work and everything?
JC: If Sean will wear a suit, other people will start to wear suits.
S: Wearing suits while skating? Did this ever happen before? Heath did it right? In “The End”!?
Ok, let’s put this the other way around. What would you ask your mum if you had to interview her?
S: How was it raising me as a child? Was I good?
C: He had a charm in his pocket all his life. I don’t know if you guys know about this but he had a real band back in the days and he was the lead singer. It was called “Nerd Army”, he was only seven or eight years old but it lasted until he was fourteen, fifteen!? As soon as he was getting more into skating, he didn’t want to do it any longer. But he wrote at least ten original songs, and they were all very good. He has a good singing voice, that’s for sure.
There should be a comeback at some point, Sean.
S: It’s coming. Don’t worry about it. I’m working on my Solo album right now.
C: My friends were always like “Sean is so cool, he is so talented.” And his teachers were always very impressed with him. It has always been easy for him, kind of. You know what? He actually recorded a song with “Karen O” the lead singer of the “Yeah Yeah Yeah’s” when he was only nine years old. A song that he wrote and she wanted to record. But I don’t know what happened to that recording? I remember she was saying that she was trying to get it on the O.S.T. For “Where the Wild Things Are” but for some reason, Spike Jonze wasn’t having it. Or, I don’t know, something happened. And it kind of fell through.
How did that all happen?
S: My dad’s stepbrothers girlfriend is really good friends with “Karen O”.
C: She is huge. So, the song was called “Why Am I Me” and his voice sounded like Alfalfa from “The Little Rascals” – super cute. I think I still have it on my iPod, if you guys wanna listen to it!?
Maybe you could play it at tonight’s party?
S: I’ll request that song for you. But maybe I’m just going to use it for the Supreme video. For my Part. Haha.
C: It’s a really, really good song!
Thanks a lot guys, we will see you at the party. Make sure to play that song at one point, Carolina!