The amazingly detailed pen and ink drawing you see here was done by Ivan Andreev, a TDS business customer repair advisor. Although it may look small here, don’t be fooled—it’s actually poster size and took more than three months to complete.
If you read the recent story about his brother, Alex, you know artistic talent runs in his family. But, Ivan went all-in with his art. He holds a degree in art from the University of Wisconsin—Madison.
“I couldn’t decide on a major and almost went for psychology, but went for art instead. I’ve never regretted it,” Ivan says.
Despite not pursuing psychology as a major, he admits he does use that course work when he’s helping customers.
“Taking special care of our businesses customers is a tough job. There’s an emotional charge to it. But the psychology I took helps me understand what I’m hearing—understanding that sometimes they’re just having a bad day.”
But just because Ivan is deftly handling customers on the phone all day doesn’t mean he’s given up art. Drawing is something he almost can’t help but do. As a doodler, his hands often seem to do their own thing in the margins of his paper. In fact, he learned to harness that process in his artwork, almost letting his subconscious take over in the initial stages of a new piece. Only later does he apply more conscious thought to help the drawing take shape.
Ivan’s talents have been noticed. Before starting at TDS, Ivan illustrated a book of Russian lullabies and folktales (you can even buy your own copy on Amazon!).
Whether its book illustration or his own style, you can see that Ivan’s drawing work focuses on minute details—something he carries over into his photography.
“Photography is definitely my second passion, almost equal to drawing. Insects are a favorite subject. I enjoy the challenge of using a macro lens to frame the shot just right and just the process of walking and observing. It’s very Zen, in a way.”
Sometimes Ivan even combines his drawing and photography talents in unique and creative ways. His “Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright 2” is actually a close-up photo of a tiger figurine he painted. And the image doesn’t look amazing because of Photoshop tricks, it’s actually completely unaltered. He used a long exposure and changed light sources to achieve his final image.
So how did an artist and almost-psych major become a repair advisor? Years ago Ivan started dismantling and building computers so he could do his favorite hobby—PC gaming.
“It’s cheaper to build your own. You get exactly what you want plus you know everything is quality.”
Once they heard of his computer skills, family and friends started coming to Ivan for help with their computer challenges. Since he was already serving as repair advisor in his personal life, Ivan’s brother encouraged him to get paid for it and apply his real-world know-how at TDS. And the rest, as they say, is history.
You can take a peek at Ivan’s portfolio of work on DeviantArt.