Mr Doodle - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction Hong Kong Sunday, November 28, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Born Sam Cox in England, 1994, Mr Doodle began his artistic career at the age of 9, scribbling over the surface of anything and everything, constructing his own, all-consuming, Doodleland. Often described as ‘graffiti spaghetti’, Mr Doodle’s works multiply relentlessly, consisting of improvised anthropomorphic creatures and patterns arranged into a dense, usually monochrome, lattice.


    Mr Doodle describes his work as the result of a unique affliction, titled OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Drawing – or ‘growing drawing virus’. The totality of his vision extends beyond the sweeping visual aesthetic of his doodles and into a detailed narrative outlining the rise of his persona, coloured by figures such as the ‘Anti-Doodle Squad’ and ‘Dr Scribble’, and a home base of the ‘Paper Galaxy’. Lacking discrimination or differentiation, Mr Doodle’s works create an all-over composition reminiscent of the works of Mark Tobey or Jackson Pollock yet imbued with a pop sensibility well-adapted especially to the culture of kawaii within Asia. He has drawn over surfaces ranging from ‘a leaf, a construction tunnel, and a chucked-out microwave outside someone’s house’, to murals and art installations.As Pearl Lam has stated, Mr Doodle is truly ‘a millennial artist. Perhaps unintentionally, the compulsive and overflowing doodles mirror the very untamed growth in this generation and those to come.’ii



    Detail of the present lot

    With an Instagram following of 2.7 million, Mr Doodle has demonstrated the infectiousness of his OCD, validating doodling as an art form beyond a simple cure for classroom boredom. Mr Doodle has explored several collaborations with iconic brands including Adidas, MTV, and Fendi, and he once spent 50 hours nonstop doodling a shop in London’s Carnaby Street in 2017. Such a feat of manic endurance trickles into his daily life, as he states that he works 14-16 hours on numerous projects daily, a sure necessity if his goal is one day ‘to be sent out to the Moon and just be allowed to doodle over the whole thing.’iii


    Though often compared to Keith Haring as well as Murakami and KAWS, Mr Doodle creates works with the singular intent of spreading joy, resulting in his form of hyper visible art with little to no signification, totally disengaged from socio-political issues. In the chaos of our times, Mr Doodle offers viewers a moment of reprieve as they step into the dizzying whorls of his galaxy.



    Mr Doodle, Mr Doodle Screaming, 2019
    © Mr Doodle


    The current work, The Persistence of Doodling, features several dripping clocks laced tightly in Mr Doodle’s characteristic fashion. In reference to Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory, the work is an ode to doodling, its omnipresence and perpetuality despite the passing of time. In relation to Mr Doodle’s own mythology, it is a proclamation of his will to power – through the transformation of ordinary objects and surfaces into pure scribble. Mr Doodle projects his philosophy of frenzy and release, as well as his determination to return to his home, ‘the Paper Galaxy’, and thus allows his art form to endure.



    Salvador Dalí, The Persistence of Memory, 1931
    Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York
    © 2021 Salvador Dalí, Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


    Mr Doodle has had numerous solo exhibitions, including at Shimadai Gallery, Kyoto; Daikanyama Hillside Forum, Tokyo; and ARA Art Centre, Seoul, among others. He is now represented exclusively by Pearl Lam Galleries.



    i ‘Meet Mr Doodle, the Artist Covering the World in “Graffiti Spaghetti”!’MakeitinDesign, online

    ii Harriet Fitch Little, ‘Mr Doodle: “I want my work to consume as much of the planet as it can.”’, Financial Times, 4 May 2021, online

    iii ibid.

    • Provenance

      Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, 5 December 2019, lot 41 (acquired directly from the artist)
      Acquired at the above sale by the present owner


The Persistence of Doodling

signed and dated 'MR DOODLE! 2019' on the overlap
acrylic on canvas
100 x 150 cm. (39 3/8 x 59 in.)
Painted in 2019.

Full Cataloguing

HK$500,000 - 800,000 

Sold for HK$1,638,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction

Hong Kong Auction 29 November 2021