Meet the Professional Doodler Who's Transforming Masterpieces Into Scribbles

IMAGE Sotheby's Hong Kong

It’s normal for children to start doodling and display artistic capabilities at an early age, but many of them grow out of these nonsense scribbles and seldom grow up to be professional artists. Sam Cox saw similar beginnings when at the age of nine, he covered his entire bedroom in Kent, U.K., in doodles. Unlike other children, Cox paved his career path in his quirky creations.

Today, Cox has gained recognition in the art industry after landing solo exhibitions in London in 2016 and in South Korea in 2018. You might have encountered his work in the MTV logo consisting of a kooky cast of characters, in public murals, or perhaps in the viral video of him doodling on the exteriors of a boutique for 50 hours.

Naturally eccentric, Cox calls his doodles “Graffiti Spaghetti” where he combines characters, patterns, and objects together in what is his own take on the typical graffiti style. In his latest takeover, the 25-year-old artist is giving the Sotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery his own makeover by covering its surfaces with his ‘spaghetti’ and putting a humorous reinterpretation on some of the world’s most famous paintings. The auction house has also prepared for Cox to host a live doodling session on December 7.

“Critics often describe my doodles as ‘not art,’” Cox says. “In response to this, I thought what better surface to invade than Sotheby’s, one of the most prestigious fine art auction houses in the world who sold some of the most renowned artworks in history? I, therefore, decided to invade their gallery with my doodles, twisting and morphing these iconic pieces and transforming them into part of DoodleWorld. This series was really fun to make, and I hope this exhibition allows audiences to see the art world through my own eyes—something to have fun with and something to laugh at.”


Sam Cox, otherwise known as Mr. Doodle
Photo Courtesy of Sotheby's Hong Kong.

The artist has always viewed art as something to put a smile on people’s faces. In a 2017 interview with Creative Boom, he expressed how “a lot of art is lacking a sense of humor.” His own personal goals stretch as far as creating a doodle house out of an entire white mansion or a “DoodleLand theme park.”

“Mr. Doodle’s interventions have become a unique visual phenomenon of its own in recent years, one that enriches the multifaceted genre of street art and urban art,” says Yuki Terase, head of contemporary art at Sotheby’s, “We are pleased to bring Mr. Doodle’s explosive energy and witty humor to Asia, presenting to audiences an exhibition that questions the boundaries between art and graffiti while engaging playfully with iconic works from art history.”

Cox puts his own playful twist to masterpieces such as da Vinci’s The Mona Lisa, Hokusai’s The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, Klimt’s The Kiss, and more. Here’s a short preview of what to expect if you ever do make your way to Hong Kong this holiday season:

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"The Mona Doodle"
Photo Courtesy of Sotheby's Hong Kong.

"Mr. Doodle Screaming," a reinterpretation of Edvard Munch's "The Scream."
Photo by Sotheby's Hong Kong.
"The Doodle Wave"
Photo Courtesy of Sotheby's Hong Kong.

"The Vitruvian Doodle"
Photo Courtesy of Sotheby's Hong Kong.

"Doodle Kiss"
Photo Courtesy of Sotheby's Hong Kong.
"Doodle 1 (Royal Red & Blue)"
Photo Courtesy of Sotheby's Hong Kong.

"Nu Doodle"
Photo Courtesy of Sotheby's Hong Kong.

The exhibition at Sotheby's Hong Kong Gallery will be open to the public from December 6 to 9, 5/F One Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong

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