Keep moving. Keep going. Keep kicking. Keep painting. Keep creating.
Ivan Colin’s life is a conversation between art and soccer. As the two continue to ‘talk,’ a man is being created between them.
BELLINGHAM, WA— Ivan Colin has worked his way up the West Coast, holding tight to his love of soccer even as his artistic prowess continues to bloom. He played high school soccer at Justin-Sienna in Napa, California. Then it was north to Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. Now he’s in northern Washington on the Evergreen Premier League and Western Indoor Soccer League rosters for Bellingham United.
Kick. Paint. Repeat.
You can’t get to know Ivan without talking both soccer and art. That’s just the way it is. “My amusement for kicking a ball and scribbling on walls has always been in my blood,” he tells goalWA.net. “I look at the beautiful game of soccer as an art form. It is a fluid, physical, spiritual, and technical performance. Without passion and emotional content the experience feels empty.”
Ivan’s role models reflect his passions. “A few of my heroes are Bruce Lee, Ronaldinho, and Pablo Picasso. The philosophy that Bruce Lee preached was to honestly express oneself whether it is on the pitch or on a canvas. It is a difficult task to achieve, but it is where the true magic exists. Ronaldinho, a magician himself, was one of the main reasons I fell in love with the game. His playful, joyful, and dancing spirit was a delight to watch on TV…Every person on earth was once a child when the core purpose of our life was to play and be happy. Pablo Picasso says, “All children are born artists, the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up.” By nurturing my inner spirit for play and keeping it alive I have remained a kid at heart.”
On the Pitch
“I currently play for the Bellingham United Hammers. For both indoor and outdoor seasons, I play in the midfield,” Ivan explains. “During the outdoor season, I specifically play as a winger because of my pace, technical ability, desire to isolate players and beat them. It is an instinct-driven game and being able to freeze an opponent and dash past them is an incredible feeling. My favorite method of training is ball work. It is a tremendous opportunity to familiarize oneself with the ball and build a positive relationship with it. It is as simple as passing a ball against a wall. It helps improve all areas of your game. When you are competent with the ball confidence and composure come along with it. The most difficult part of mastering the game is being sharp mentally and superbly resilient. It is a game of waves; sometimes you’re riding the wave and other times you’re at the mercy of the ocean.”
On the Canvas
“The type of artist I am is an abstract organic painter. The source of my inspiration comes from the natural world,” Ivan shares. “Color palettes, contours, shapes, movement, and elements of the surrounding environment are evident in my work. For example, the atmospheric characteristic of clouds, the way the wind animates trees, or how biology looks underneath a microscope. My style of painting is luminous, ephemeral, organized chaos, and rich with texture. My art serves as a window into an imagined realm with intentions to evoke my audience with visceral feelings. I use a variety of mediums: oil, pastel, charcoal, colored pencil, and spray paint. However I primarily use acrylic paint; it is safer for indoor painting, more economical, dries faster, and it is one of the mediums I have the most experience handling.”
We mentioned earlier that Colin’s trajectory has been north, north, north. Here are some details.
“After I graduated from Linfield College, I went on to participate in a series of trials all along the WestCcoast. I had faith in my ability to play and was sure I was going to find a club that best suited me as a player. I started in Oregon spending my first weekend in Eugene and shortly after in Portland. With no success breaking the roster at Lane United and the U23-Timbers I continued my journey down to California. My hometown, Napa is a three-hour drive to Fresno where I spent a week playing alongside the Fresno Fuego. Through my own eyes, I had been playing some of my best soccer, finishing goals, creating chances, and hustling hard. However, my efforts were not enough to land a contract.
I quickly returned to my home in McMinnville, Oregon to prepare for my next trip. I was working at a winery at the time and when it wasn’t busy I planned out travel times and figured out where I was going to sleep. I managed to find a backpackers hostel in downtown Victoria. The mission began by trekking up to Port Angeles and catching a ferry heading up to Canada. It was an amazing experience to be able to hop on a bus and arrive at the University of Victoria. There was an abundant amount of training grounds and located right next to them was a brand new massive student gym. I was in awe and grew more excited about being able to play there. I trained with the Victoria Highlanders for a week and was invited to stay for the weekend and play in a match. I suited up and felt my chance knocking at the door. My performance in the game was solid but unfortunately I did not receive a second invitation.
After failing to roster in the PDL I had heard about the EPLWA. It was early in my trial process that I learned about the league. While I was in Portland a player who plays at UNLV told me about a tryout opportunity up in Vancouver for the club Victory. It meant leaving the current trial and driving up to try out for a team I had no information about. It felt like a coincidence that they ended up as league champions. I ultimately ended up getting in contact with Lance (Calloway, BUFC Head Coach) and receiving the green light to drive up for a training session with BUFC. One session led to another, which landed me playing time for the reserves. I had to leave work early, unsure if I was going to keep my job and made the 5-hour drive to Everett to play in my first match for the Hammers. I didn’t mind the uncertainty. I was following my gut and was rewarded for it in the end.
Experiencing Life’s Conversations
“I have multiple proud moments in both my career as a soccer player and artist. Every time I return back to my alma mater I feel proud to know my paintings are hung in one of the most visited buildings on campus. I have four massive paintings on display right next to the student registration and career guidance center (a hub for people to walk through.) A peer asked me to donate them to the school and she could help get them properly presented. The choice was simple when I knew where they would be placed. I have no problem sharing my art when I know it will have a happy home. The name of the painting is called “Algorithmic Rhythms.” I have made a time-lapse video of my process to help my viewers witness the evolution of the painting.”
“During my collegiate soccer career, I scored a handful of goals, although there are a select few that stick out in my mind. The season goes by quickly with numerous schools in our league and for a majority of the season, there are double-header weekends. On rare occasions, we played a single game for the weekend — once halfway through the season and once more at the end. It was always our rival Willamette University.”
“One year after the other I scored game-winning goals and both match-ups happened to be shutouts. The first time I experienced the sensation of leading our team to victory was late in the game in the 83rd minute. It was a simple ball on the ground from a teammate where I stood ready at the six-yard box to finish with a right-footed pass into the back of the net. The year after on the same pitch after about 25 minutes of play I capitalized on a mistake made by their center back. I pressured him on a loose ball and won it. I sailed past him and two other defenders into space and ended up in the same spot I had scored the year before. I found myself on the left side of the goal. I saw the goalkeeper creep out and snuck it past his shoulder hitting the right side netting. My body surged with pure happiness realizing it was my weaker foot. The game ended with a pass I assisted to my center midfielder to finish from the outside of the eighteen-yard box to end the game 2-0. In the last game of that season, I scored again against the same team to equalize the match with another left-footed side netting goal. I truly enjoyed delivering the ball into the back of the net against our rival.”
How Far North?
If you haven’t caught on by now, this ‘kid’ is thoughtful, expressive, and perhaps well beyond his years in self-awareness. Still, life remains to be lived, and dreams remain to be accomplished. Kick. Paint. Repeat.
“My goals and aspirations for my future in the arts are to own my studio, have my work shown in galleries, and be able to make a living from painting,” Ivan declares
“My plans for soccer are to keep growing, remain a student of the game, and inevitably compete at the next level. I cannot envision a future where I am not doing either of these two passions. I have failed my way to success and plan to keep doing so on my path to becoming the most elite version of myself.”