Mr Doodle: Colourful Monochrome
Sam Cox, aka “Mr Doodle”, has made a living and an art out of doodling. From the streets of Shoreditch to corporate bathrooms, through to his own dog’s attire, no surface is safe from a doodling spree in his hands. The young artist shares his thoughts on the role of an artist persona, the nature of street art, and some unusual fan feedback he’s received over the years.
What projects do you have in the works?
I’m working on designing some trainers and also a couple of other clothing projects which has been really fun!
You’ve created an artist persona, Mr Doodle, who’s evil brother takes over doodle land and kicks him (you) out of the land and back to earth. Do you think having a persona is key to staying relevant within the art space these days?
No I don’t think having a persona is key, I think plenty of artists manage without one. Everyone is different, I would just recommend following the route that is most ‘you’.
You’ve drawn on walls, cars, and furniture, as well as more ordinary canvases. Do you have a favourite surface to work on? If so, why?
Rooms are my favourite! I love covering a whole room.
Colour or black & white?
Black and white.
You’ve spoken of finding inspiration in visual mash-ups, graffiti, and comics. Do you find inspiration in other art forms, like design, music or theatre, as well?
Yes, I think there’s something to take from everything. I think the best thing to do is take a mix of your favourite bits from all art forms and mash it into your own thing. Sometimes I listen to documentaries about people who search for aliens whilst I am working.
Our Insider Karim Samuels has stated: “Graffiti and street art are possibly the last forms of unmediated commentary and expression that people have today. Generally, people can say what they really feel without fear of reprehension.” Do you agree? Do you feel like your art gives you a forum for commentary?
No, I don’t agree. I think that even the majority of graffiti and street artists still care a lot about what people think and their reputations as much as any artists. I don’t try and put any heavy commentary in my work, I just like to have fun. But if I did, then I’d still feel there would be a fear of reprehension as much as I would with a different form of art. I don’t think this is necessarily bad, I’m just saying that I don’t think graffiti and street art is much different to any other kind of art when it comes to how people feel about commentating on how they feel.
Can you name a few other artists in London who are doing innovative things?
Yeah, I like Ben Wilson, the guy who paints chewing gum.
What are some of the most surprising things people have said about your work?
Lots of people say that it’s colourful when it’s black and white, it’s a really strange thing but there’s been a surprising amount of people that have instinctively said things like ‘oh that’s so lively and colourful’ – even when the work is purely black doodles. I think this is cool because it’s like they’re deciding the colours for themselves.