Founder and operator of his own design agency, Markus is certainly well spoken in the language of design. Markus uses the freedom of his home office to appease his automotive obsession, whether it's killing cones in his twin-turbo Bimmer, testing mods with his gearhead son, or checking out the latest event at the nearby Laguna Seca. Markus also enjoys taking mini-vacations to create awesome blipshift designs like "Targa Acquired", the contest-winning "Lega-Z", and "Bimmerhead".
Markus gave himself a break to answer some questions:
How did your interest in cars start?
From the time I played with Legos and Hot Wheels, I have always been interested in the design of cars, and curious to know what made them go fast. I would probably also have to attribute some of my enthusiast origins to my dad. He was definitely a car guy and I spent much of my childhood in the passenger seat of his Porsche 914-6 and Triumph TR3. For almost a decade he was a SCRAMP official at Laguna Seca, so I spent lots of time hanging out with him at the track.
How does your interest show itself?
Once a month I do Autocross with the Golden Gate Chapter of BMWCCA at the Marina Municipal Airport. The course, which is always of top-notch design, is set up directly on an old flight line where the surface is impressively smooth, but fly-paper sticky. My 19 year old son is a total car nut so not only does he join me at the airport in his Mini Cooper S, we also spend plenty of time talking cars, checking out cars, testing mods and talking more cars.
When I was living in Utah I was really into rock crawling as well, and would tackle many a challenging trail in my heavily modified Jeep.
Living next to Laguna Seca really ups the opportunity for car related experiences, and even if you don’t go to the track you can still hear the engine roar from my house. During car week the streets of Monterey are littered with car candy from the multiple world renowned auctions that take place downtown. There is a very party like atmosphere - cars that you would never dream to see in your lifetime are taken across the promenade, right through the crowd. For some reason the thing that sticks with me the most is the smell which is quite intoxicating.
Exotics on Cannery Row is another indulgence – over a thousand people converge on the small stretch of street along with a whole mess of over the top and ultra flamboyant exotics that have been brought in from all over the world. I tell you what, you haven’t lived until you’ve almost been run over by a foreign diplomat bouncing off the rev limiter in a LaFerrari.
YouTube videos are my main binge-watch entree. My favorite channels include: The Smoking Tire, Drive, Car Throttle, Jalopnik, Chris Harris on Cars and Auto Express.
What's at the top of your automotive bucket list?
I’ve been in love with the M3 since I saw the first one racing against the Mercedes Benz 190e 2.3-16 in 1986. My bucket list includes a new M3 and a classic like the 3.0CS. A Singer 911 is also on that list. Love the simplicity of the mechanics, with the added retro design.
What's in your driveway, and what makes it special?
Right now I drive and autocross a BMW 650i ZSP (previously it was a 335i with the N54 and sports package), with plans to add a Wavetrac limited slip and other goodies in the future.
What was your first car? Do you have any sort of brand loyalty?
My first car was a 1977 VW Rabbit - this was during the era of aftermarket water cooled VWs. After I’d had it for a while, I started sketching my own version of the car and eventually added fresh white paint, a BBS body kit, Zender rear wing, European bumpers, Hella European headlights and grill, along with other bits.
I definitely have an affinity for German made cars. I guess you could say there was a period when I was pretty loyal to VW as my later rides included a Wolfsburg Edition 16-Valve Scirocco and a Jetta VR6. In recent years I’ve switched, as my last three cars have all been BMW. Of course I could also always do Porsche...
What is your dream car?
Realistically, my eye is on an M car. Just love the history and the versatility. BMW M4 GTS would be my first choice, but I do appreciate all of them in different ways, from track star to autobahn burner. There is something to be said for a daily driver that also does well at a weekend driving event. If I was shooting for the stars, I’d love a CLK63 Black Series!
What do you do besides designing awesome shirts?
I am the Proprietor/Creative Director/Designer for AREA5100. My office is at home which is awesome except I don’t get to commute. I design everything from logos and packaging to guitars for people like Geezer Butler. My favorite projects involve functional design; it is also pretty cool to see something that started in your head become a reality.
For the past 5 years, Green Giant Fresh has been one of my main clients. During this time I redesigned all of their packaging for US and Europe, and had the opportunity to work with some really great people. Having grown up with their products, it was pretty surreal to be so closely involved with something as iconic as the Green Giant himself.
What are some of your non-car hobbies?
Red meat, wine, BBQ, playing and
hoarding collecting bass guitars, chillin’ with the fam and my dog Winston Churchill Jr Jr. Many weekends we do a lot of "Bourdaining" - an ode to Anthony Bourdain - which involves going to unfamiliar parts of town to look for cool, obscure stuff to try and eat.
What have the funds from blipshift helped you accomplish?
I use my blipshift coin to keep fresh rubber on my car, because Autocross.
What's your favorite blipshift shirt?
Red Pig II. I like what it represents - German muscle before German muscle was cool – and the grotesquely wide tires.
Any advice for fellow artists? How did you find the process overall?
When I first discovered Blipshift, I felt like a kid in a candy shop – I was an immediate convert and a total addict. It’s always a lot of fun working on designs and submitting to blipshift; it’s like a mini paid vacation during work hours! The icing on the cake is when I get to see my stuff being worn by fellow car enthusiasts.
Thanks Markus. Keep on crankin' out awesome art, and Apex Everything!