01 Aug “Behind The Scenes With Ian from Blind Whino”
“Sneaker Enthusiast, Marketing Expert, World Traveler, and Lifestyle Provider”
Who is Ian?
Ian is an average kid with a crazy imagination. I have a love for sneakers that I have been able to spawn into an economic engine in order to share my world with everyone else.
Growing up in DC, I always wanted to be different. I never brought Jordan’s off the rack; I brought my shoes off of clearance! My love for music afforded me the opportunity to play in the symphony orchestras as a kid. I was a percussionist during my entire grade school years. Being exposed to classical music by day and Go-Go (Classic DC music) at night, helped shaped me to be the culturally rich and diverse guy that I am today.
How do you feel about being spotlighted by the city as a true sneaker head?
At the time I feel as if it was necessary, for me it was just a love for shoes. It eventually boiled over to events. I remember going to venues like Club Dream and Love Night Club and they would always say, “individuals in sneakers were thugs”. From there I begin to throw sneaker-themed parties in the early 2000’s. This opened opportunities for me to be sponsored by large corporations, which later turned into free events in the city. A few of my corporate sponsors at that time included companies like Scion (being the biggest), Under Armor, Adidas, Puma, Shoe City Retailers, Ciroc, and others.
Tell us about Blind Whino, how did it come about, and what is it’s purpose?
Blind Whino came about in 2012, my partner Shane Pomajamvo has an art gallery in National Harbor called Art Whino. The owner of our current building approached Shane after an event that we hosted, asking if we would like to come in and paint an abandoned church that he purchased a few years back. In Oct 2012, we commissioned the internationally known artist, Hemse, to come in and paint the building from Atlanta.
When 2013 came around, we thought it would be good to clean out the inside of the building by gutting it out and making it a community based space. Being connected corporately, I was able to pull together 80K to help renovate our venue. We had events around the renovation, and of course the money helped properly position us to open our doors to the public.
We currently host art and music concerts (Wale, Pusha T, Arrested Development have all performed here to name a few), workshops, art exhibitions; we serve as a private facility used for (weddings, cookouts, meetings etc.). We even have an organic garden out in the back, which has allowed us to partner with a non-profit called Dreaming Out Loud. Dreaming Out Loud teaches youth how to grow their own food, eat healthy, and they provide fresh food to local food markets.
What has surprised you most in regards to the project?
The response. We didn’t know what we were doing the 1st year, we just wanted to program the Art Summit. We were well embraced, 3 years later we are being named on global list as a must visit place around the World. We just wanted to have a nice warm spot to have individuals showcase their work, but it has truly evolved.
Any advice for young black males?
Don’t stop dreaming, and really learn how to love and appreciate what YOU are good at. No matter how overwhelmingly imaginatively it may be, it takes time and patience to learn it and do it. That’s the most important thing.
How can interested readers learn more about Blind Whino?
www.blindwhino.org or for any of our social media pages, just search Blind Whino.
This article was written by Justin Sims, (IAMMRMENTOR), In hopes of not only inspiring entrepreneurs, but young black males to be the best and the truest version of themselves.
If you like this article and find yourself interested in more positive stories about black millennial age males, please visit WWW.IAMMRMENTOR.CO and follow him on his social media pages IAMMRMENTOR on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.