A Cheerful Santa stretched over a billboard. Stalin rising from a coffin. A choir with Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Roman Abramovich, Albert Einstein, and Batman. A mosquito with a condom on his nose… What do these things have in common? All of them were created by Andrey Grodeev.
His exquisite satire and authentic drawing style made me very curious about this visual artist. I sent him an email and we scheduled a skype talk on December 8th. Both of us are originally from Russia, and we chatted in our native language.
Andrey currently lives and works in Bangkok, Thailand. His clients include Y&R NY, TBWA/RAAD Dubai, Ogilvy Frankfurt, LOWE Viethnam, LOWE Russia, Saatchi&Saatchi Russia, BBDO Columbia, Butter Berlin, GQ Russia, and Newsweek Russia. His work won multiple international awards. Yet, he is a very laid-back, approachable, and friendly guy.
He studied formal drawing and figurative work when he was a student on the Architecture faculty in his home town Khabarovsk. Nevertheless, most of his drawing and computer skills are self-taught. He cultivated his unique style by practicing drawing every night when he would come home from work.
Andrey has always been aspired to do creative and thought-provoking work, and he strived to surround himself with like-minded people. His ideas rarely found support in his home town. He often felt discouraged and misunderstood in his local community. However, as he started to post his work online, websites with his illustrations began to generate hundreds thousands of views in a trice. The internet gave him the right exposure and agencies and clients from all over the world began to offer him contracts. Now he charges thousands of dollars for each gig; yet, he still remembers the time when a hundred bucks felt like a lot of money…
Andrey said that he finally found his passion. He enjoys being an artist and has never regretted about not becoming an architect. Andrey said “It is a tragedy that young people in Russia have to go to college and stick to the chosen career at such young age. When you are seventeen, what have you seen in your life? How do you know what you like and what you want to do in your life? Usually, you are too green to make this kind of decision at that time, and if you want to change your course, you’ll be stigmatized as “a college dropout.” Andrey added, “I enjoy what I do, and I value my freedom. Now I want to see the world and find a place where I feel comfortable and inspired.”
I always wanted to know why some artists had wide success and recognition while other talented people were left behind the curve, starving, or working unwanted jobs to meet their survival needs. No one art book or an autobiography I’ve read so far answered this question. Therefore, I began my journey of finding talented people I respect and admire and asking them to share their stories with me.
In this blog I am going to tell you about artists, gallery owners, art curators, museum directors and other art professionals and share their stories of failures and success.