Mr Doodle is a British street artist known for his busy, light-hearted doodles that spread across walls, rooms, and even his own custom-doodled attire. Fast emerging on the international art market, Mr Doodle collaborates with well-known brands including Fendi, Converse, Puma, Samsung, and MTV.Read More
Sam Cox, known by his pseudonym Mr Doodle, was born in Kent in 1994. From a young age, Cox developed a passion for drawing, doodling all over schoolbooks, bedroom walls, furniture, and, later, the walls of local restaurants and schools. The artist has developed these childhood scribbles into a signature art form.
Cox completed a BA in Illustration at the University of West England in Bristol in 2015. It was at Bristol that Cox's persona as Mr Doodle fully emerged. In 2014, the artist started coming to classes dressed in hand-doodled attire, earning him the nickname that has become his artworld moniker.
The fictive origins of Mr Doodle were outlined in a 2016 video produced by the artist and Modus Film Productions: 'obsessive-compulsive drawer' Mr Doodle drew the ire of the Anti-Doodle Squad for covering the whole planet in doodles. Striking a deal with them, Mr Doodle blasted off to Doodleland, a part of the galaxy made entirely of white space. Ousted by his evil twin brother Dr Scribble, and stranded back on a doodle-free earth, Mr Doodle trades artworks for materials to build a spaceship to get back to Doodleland.
Mr Doodle's art is characterised by a tightly packed and visually overwhelming arrangements of letters, forms, symbols, and recurring characters, drawn with thick black lines on white backgrounds. The artist describes these improvised compositions, which can be spread across canvases, objects, walls, and even whole rooms, as 'a growing drawing virus'.
In 2016, Mr Doodle's first major solo exhibition, Attention Seeker, saw London's Hoxton Gallery covered in a continuous doodle mural. Drawing influence from everyday phenomena such as cartoons, cereal boxes, and video games, as well as a retinue of imagined characters from Doodleland, the artist decorated walls, columns, and the floor of the gallery with dense imagery. He also drew over a grand dining set and accompanying tableware with floral centre piece.
Mr Doodle has referred to his style, which packs overwhelming visual stimuli into infinite compositions, as 'graffiti spaghetti'. The simple imagery itself has broad appeal, with the artist stating: 'My intention has always been to create a universal doodle language that can relate to and attract people from all over the world.'
Playing to the weirdness and performative antics that make the artist's alter ego come to life, Mr Doodle's clothing, worn at the completed exhibition, was hand-decorated to blend in with the doodle-saturated rooms of the installation.
In the 2018 solo show Doodle World at Seoul's ARA Art Center, the artist showcased new works that adapt imagery of iconic landmarks, people, and artworks. Recreations of images of Donald Trump, the Queen, Kim Jong Un, the Eiffel Tower, Tower Bridge, and Vincent van Gogh's The Starry Night (1889) were made with complex arrangements of Mr Doodle's signature characters.
The artist has also made colourful parodies of other famous artworks, including The Garden of Doodley Delights (2019) after Hieronymus Bosch, Mr Doodle Screaming (2019) after Edvard Munch, and the Mona Doodle (2019) after Leonardo da Vinci.
In 2021, in the lead-up to his wedding to Mrs Doodle, Mr Doodle made nine sets of prints of hearts in nine colours. Contained within the heart shape are doodles such as romantic flowers, hugging doodle creatures, and 'jellyfish falling in love'.
Mr Doodle's wife Alena has taken on the persona of Mrs Doodle. She collaborates with him by colouring in some of his designs with bright colours like a colouring book. Alongside Mr Doodle, Cox plays the dual persona of Dr Scribble, Mr Doodle's evil twin brother whose artworks are the antithesis to Mr Doodle, both in their evil subjects and the altered balance of black and white.
Mr Doodles often works in the outdoors and public spaces. Some of his public art commissions include a doodle-decorated outdoor sculpture for the 2017 MTV Europe Music Awards in London, a take-over of the rooftop of Fendi's Rome headquarters in 2019, and a mural in the Mexico City Metro the same year. Mr Doodle has also worked on various mural projects on the streets of London, Bristol, New York, Brussels, and Dubai.
Mr Doodle has been the subject of both solo and group exhibitions.
Solo exhibitions include Mr Doodle in Love, chi K11 Art Museum, Shanghai (2022); Doodle Tokyo, Daikanyama Hillside Forum, Tokyo (2019); Mr Doodle Invades Sotheby's, Sotheby's Hong Kong (2019); Doodle World, ARA Art Center, Seoul (2018).
Group exhibitions include The Ethereal Aether, The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg (2021); Sense of Space: A Sensory Experience of Mindful Art, the Broadgate Exchange Square, London (2018).
Following a 2019 exhibition with Sotheby's, Mr Doodle art for sale at auction has fetched high prices, particularly in East Asia. At a Sotheby's online auction in 2020, Mr Doodle's Pink Kitty (2019) and Blue Kitty (2019) made more than 20 times their high estimate, fetching US $22,577 each. That same year, Mr Doodle set an auction record at the Tokyo Chuo Auction with the sale of Spring (2019) for close to US $1 million, 12 times the estimated price.
Artists like Mr Doodle and American artist KAWS who combine universal imagery with branding have found significant commercial success in these markets.
In 2021, Mr Doodle partnered with Pearl Lam Galleries and SuperRare to debut an NFT artwork, The Living Doodle (2021). The NFT, a stop-motion animation in which several Doodleworld characters attempt to escape the canvas into the digital realm, was sold at auction on SuperRare for 68.2 ETH, or approximately US $200,000.
Mr Doodle's website can be found here, and his Instagram can be found here.
Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2022