Where’s Waldo? Ask Industrial Design Grad Andrew Pick
Well … no. Definitely not.
During his time at Jefferson (then Philadelphia University), Pick and his friends would go to popular destinations and hide in the back of other people’s pictures to make each other laugh. The game carried over once he moved to New York with many of the same crew.
Then, in 2012, Pick moved to Germany for work and decided to keep the fun going for himself—this time as Waldo, the character from the famed British series of children’s books, “Where’s Waldo?”
In Germany, Pick followed his pattern of traveling to tourist destinations and photobombing strangers. Then, he would go home and scroll through Instagram, hoping he would find himself tagged. He started his own Waldo Instagram page and asked friends or coworkers to snap photos for him whenever the situation or the scenery called for it.
“For the longest time, it was basically just my friends and family following me,” says the Class of 2007 graduate.
Pick recalls one of the first times his game as Waldo got noticed on a larger scale. In 2014, he was an audience member in the plaza outside the “Today” show. Pick worked to blend into the crowd as a challenge for eagle-eyed viewers. Camera operators on the show identified Pick as Waldo, circling him on the screen.
“I thought, man, I can’t make it that easy,” he says. “So, I kept moving around in the crowd until a production assistant came out and told me I should stand still. I said, ‘No, then where’s the challenge?’”
Regardless of where he travels or moves to for work, Pick brings his Waldo suit with him—even if it just stays in his suitcase. Pick has taken photo ops as Waldo everywhere from the Lincoln Memorial to the NCAA Final Four to the Mayan ruins in Tulum, Mexico.
Currently based in Vancouver working as a manufacturing design engineer for Gravitics (more on that below), he has taken a deeper interest in other hobbies because of the time spent as Waldo, including long-distance running and cycling. After being photographed at the 2022 Vancouver Eastside 10K, organizers invited him back to run the race for free this year along with participating in the Toronto Marathon.
When asked how the project has bled into the rest of his life, he responds: “I feel like I wear a lot more stripes and rounded glasses. But really, I’m fortunate that my coworkers and higher-ups at my company are into it. It gets me more excited, too.”
Now that his platform has gained traction and garnered positive press, Pick hopes to do some good with his limelight. He’s using his momentum to earn sponsorships for charity runs, which would help bring awareness to causes close to his heart.
“At a certain point, I thought, ‘How long will I be doing this?’” he says. “But now that it’s gotten a bit more attention, I’m excited about it, and I feel that all the time and effort I’ve put into it is validated. I’m continually surprised by people’s reactions and how happy they get when they see Waldo in the wild.”
When not photobombing around the world, Pick keeps busy with his full-time job at Gravitics and a successful side business. While trained as an industrial designer, his work at the aerospace company runs the gamut from manufacturing to engineering to even interior design. He assists with the aesthetic and functionality of the fabrication facility and contributes to the manufacturing methodology.
“My experience in lighting and furniture design has helped a great deal as I move toward interiors for space and assisting with visuals for conceptual development,” Pick says. “I work with all teams within the integration group. Being at a small company, I’m lucky to learn about everything.”
His side business explores the convergence of art and design. Using metal, wood and composites for his sculptural work, Pick loves the hands-on fabrication process. For example, he created a series of vessels constructed from a network of adhered nickel-plated steel balls.
“Each piece is unique,” Pick says. “I’m interested in the longevity of handmade objects versus the disposable nature of mass manufacturing.”