Ivan is a believer of love at first Auto X, having fallen deep down the rabbit hole pushing his Subaru Impreza to the limit. Now as big of a track nut as he is a Subie (and Porsche) fan, he's looking to apply his entrepreneurship and self-improvement skills to build a charity garage around working on and being immersed with cars. Ivan always keeps momentum (aka “Big Mo”) going, creating a bevy of business and slew of shirts such as "Ambidextrous", "Song of Seals", and "Categorically Better".
Ivan took a break from rabidly submitting designs to answer a few questions:
How did your interest in cars start?
I always enjoyed cars growing up, whether it was playing Grand Turismo or hearing the mountains of Puerto Rico roar with the boxer rumble of somebody's STI devouring corners, but the defining moment of my gearhead passion was when I did my first autocross. A College friend of mine drove an RSX Type-S and he had been doing it for a little while. He saw that I had bought an 09 2.5 Impreza and asked me to try it out. Looking at it online it didn't seem like it would be entertaining. but actually doing it completely changes your perspective. It's a lot of fun! That's what really sparked a passion for motorsports.
After my first few runs I felt like “I can get good at this” and be something I could fall in love doing. This lead to rallycrosses, track days, drift days, and so on. It's been a snowball effect that has now defined my whole life to the point that my wife needed to learn how to drive stick… and she does in her baby blue Impreza.
How does your interest show itself?
Binge-watching Top Gear, 5th Gear, The Grand Tour, The new NEW Top Gear, watching Chris Harris Drives (before he was in TG), and long nights browsing YouTube for how to install and replace almost everything possible in your car. That way, when the time comes it's already planted in my brain. I love working on cars, and after you've had a couple of Subarus you get a pretty good idea of what to expect. Like any gearhead though, the best work is when you're installing new aftermarket parts.
My wife and I have made it a lifestyle and part of who we are. Everything in our lives revolves around cars, and the car scene is quite big here in South Florida. We attend car meets, galas, and events all the time. We have the Largest Cars & Coffee in the nation where we are; they even bring a DYNO! We go to drag days, drift days, track days, etc. We enjoy it all! We meet great people and awesome cars all the time.
It's inspired us so much that we're looking to develop an entire charity based on cars: “The Rated-R Ministries.” It'll have several aspects to it. One being the ability to help homeless people, substance abusers, those struggling in school, gangs; anyone who feels their life isn't going anywhere. We want to be able to restore and help them through a leadership program, while teaching them how to work on cars to build their own passion and creativity. With the help of volunteers and other car lovers, we'd teach them how to weld, paint, fix engines, etc. We will build warehouses and create stations for car lovers of all makes to be able to either work on their own cars, help others working on their cars, and inspire those who need a change in their life. We will create a car culture far beyond anybody has ever seen in order to continue inspiring and protect the future of motoring! People will have access to lifts, tools, and garages as long as they are volunteering at the shop or outreaching to help others.
Currently it's a matter of resources and networking. We have the dream and the groundwork done. South Florida is already a big car scene so the focus is getting enough people that relate to the vision, and the rest just kinda follows. For the next 1-2 years we'll be extremely focused on laying the foundation, legal stuff, checking out spaces, and then the following 3 years after that is putting it all into place, purchasing equipment, and expanding the vision enough to create an impact.
What is at the top of your automotive bucket list?
Currently we are family of Subarus (and we will always be), but my next 3 cars are going to be the 718 Cayman S, Porsche Carrera GTS or the GT3 in Manual, and the McLaren 675 LT. My wife is going to go from a BRZ, to an F-Type Manual, to a Purple accented G-Wagon because… unicorns.
As far as racecars, we will be buying a separate BRZ to build into a drift car, I will be buying a '06 STI and it'll be my rally car, and then 1-2 Porsches and STI for track days, depending if the wifey wants to come or not.
What was your first car? Any sort of brand loyalty?
My first car was a beat up 120,000 mile Saturn, which was given to me. I don't even know if it had a name. It had bald tires which I found out as I oversteered into a median and destroyed both axles on the right hand side.
I went from that car to an '05 Mustang V6 that I owned for a week because of some error in the dealer's system. I bought another Mustang the week after and daily drove it for 3 years. After that my brand loyalty started, and what I consider my first actual car was an 09 Impreza 2.5i. I bought it used at 33,000 miles and I traded it in 3 years later with close to 100,000 miles. Most of those 67,000 miles were track days and autocrosses. I then went to a '13 WRX and now a '16 WRX, and will be adding a few vehicles to the garage very soon.
What is your dream car?
Realistic, it's the McLaren 675 LT and the new 2018 Porsche GT3 (Manual). I love that car. Fantasy-wise, gosh who wouldn't want to own McLaren F1! I'd be afraid of driving it though... Florida people. Just google Florida on Jalopnik, trust me.
What do you do besides designing awesome shirts?
Before getting into business I did use to dance at night for money.... and I mean like dancing with the stars. I taught professional ballroom/latin and competed in the professional circuit for over 7 years.
Nowadays, I'm an entrepreneur and business owner. I create new businesses and develop a leadership training program that helps them grow their potential and assets. Actually, that's a funny story in itself. I was going to college for Computer Engineering and around the time I was planning to switch to business I ended up meeting this guy named Corey. He was in his late thirties and fully retired, living with his wife and newborn son. It shocked me to even know somebody so young could retire to which he remarked, “Do you need age or income to retire?” Point taken. I encouraged...or rather BEGGED him to teach me what he knew and what he did. He built a large quantity of businesses in his teens and early twenties to the point that they don't need him anymore. He didn't take kindly of some random college kid just stalking him for knowledge, but over a long time I showed myself worthy and now am being trained and mentored on his footsteps. Crazy huh? I could have been in a desk job, 9-5pm, everyday and not being able to live out all my life's dreams. I owe him everything and credit my freedom to love cars all thanks to him. Thanks Corey!
What are some of your non-car hobbies?
My wife and I are big into the gym so we work out a lot, is that considered a hobby? We love building and planning our future and reading a lot, and I mean… a lot. I'm big into personal development, business, and communication skill books. It's essential to any big dream. We have a huge library and it's what we do on our spare time. We also love traveling and anything with delicious food.
What have the funds from blipshift helped you accomplish?
As a business owner, my income is going towards investing back into my business so it continues to grow to the goals that I have. In the meantime, the funds from the shirts also help us have some car parts money for both my wife and I. She tends to buy herself chocolate because in her world, that is an essential car part.
Who influences you as a designer?
I like to keep myself open to new ideas and keep an open mind everywhere I go. Sometimes I'll get new ideas as I'm designing one and as long as I keep big mo' (momentum) going I always keep the juices flowing.
What's your favorite blipshift shirt?
I don't know if I can pick ONE shirt. I feel that every different shirt symbolizes not just a car enthusiast's perspective, but also a universal language of car love. Each one is special you know? A lot of the shirts that I love are from other artists, but there's a sense of ownership and pride with your own. What's even more awesome is when you see someone at a car meet with your shirt!
Any advice for fellow artists?
Be creative, be yourself, share what you love and do not give up. An artist is misunderstood sometimes, and it can be difficult to continue to create works that are new and exciting. Submit ANY idea. Most of the shirts that have made it to the Garage have been ideas that I loved and I pride myself in, but others have been complete shots in the dark and have been quite successful. You never know! Avoid regrets and just put it out there, you'd be surprised what sticks!
How did you find the process overall?
Personally I'd like to thank Daniel and the whole blipshift team because they are PATIENT people, let me tell you. I believe I've submitted 150+ designs and that's just ME. I imagine them sorting through all the idea and design emails, and filtering what they know will bring a car culture together. I thank them for their kindness and willingness to help me out in the process and maintain a positive car culture while making awesome shirts. You guys rock!
Lastly, thank you all who have supported my own creations on blipshift!
Thanks for your time Ivan. Best of luck with the garage, and Apex Everything!