He's not the Stig...but he is the Stig's Middle Eastern cousin. Growing up, Blayde was exposed to to many different exotics, which fuelled his passion for cars. When not fixing commercial airplanes, Blayde focuses his automotive enthusiasm on crafting awesome designs, including "NAlware", "S'all Good", and "Rotary Reactor".
Blayde put down his wrenches to answer a few questions of ours:
How did your interest in cars start?
Growing up in the Middle East, it really was inevitable that the million-dollar sports cars, supercars and one offs roaming the streets would have an effect on me. Automotive media of course contributed a lot, but it's in the air here. People are superbly enthusiastic, and having several racing tracks and car shows helps feed that high.
How does your interest manifest itself?
I watch a lot of automotive media, alongside driving and being driven in quite a few friends' rides, as everyone likes to show off their new toys. A few of my favourites have been: 993 Porsche GT2, Mercedes SLR 722, RUF CTR2, Lamborghini Diablo SV, and a '67 Mustang Fastback. I am currently shopping for a new car so researching that is fun in itself. I love going for a long drive with no real destination, and am hoping to do a few roadtrips next year.
What is at the top of your automotive bucket list?
Getting a project car done exactly how I want, something you can track seriously but also drive daily, and then using it on as many tracks and famous roads as I can in the world. That would be the perfect experience. The car I've had in mind for a while is an NSX, and the first track I'd want to tackle would definitely be the Nürburgring and then Spa.
Describe your vehicles, and what makes them special:
Currently in between cars, deciding between a few hatchbacks and the BRZ/AE86 route. I moved out last year and left my last car ('06 Civic) with my dad, so i've been car-less ever since.
What was your first car? Do you have any sort of brand loyalty?
My first car was an in-the-family hand me down 8th generation JDM Civic sedan that I did nothing to, because nothing should ever be done to such a car. I am partial to SUVs since I learned to drive in one. I have no brand loyalty as nearly every car maker has done something right and something wrong in their history.
What is your dream car?
My dream car would be a Singer 911 with every single detail poured over 'till I am satisfied. Preferably a 964 base and Fuchs alloys, with a current generation engine and underpinnings. I love the idea of a classic but updated design with modern hidden touches everywhere, so that you appreciate the old designs but with none of the drawbacks.
What do you do besides designing awesome shirts?
My actual career is aircraft maintenance, mainly for one airline or another in the Middle East. I work primarily on the Airbus A320 and Boeing 777. It feeds my engineering side as well as being a job I love doing. I was also lucky enough to work for the Bahrain F1 a few times as a designer for some track media and artwork during the races.
What are some of your hobbies, not relating to cars?
I'm a sci-fi and fantasy geek and love to read. I'm currently working my way through Asimov's Foundation series and love everything by Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. Games like Battlefield and GTA take my time when I can spare it and I love to buy all kinds of LEGO sets.
What did the funds from blipshift help you accomplish?
All my art monies go into a "toy fund", stuff that I really want but don't really need but REALLY want (mostly LEGO).
What's your favorite blipshift shirt?
"Assembly Required", that is a really nice design.
Any advice for fellow artists? How did you find the process overall?
Art is a really hard market to break into. I knew fairly early on I wanted to do this for my own sense of achievement and it has kept my interest and enthusiasm going for years. Most artists are happy to share helpful information, but do it for yourself so you enjoy what you make, regardless of any financial motivation.
Thanks for your time Blayde! Apex Everything!