Best of 2022: Welcome to the Doodle House
It was one of the most-talked about art moments of 2022, and although at times a polarizing experience from our audience, Mr. Doodle's "Doodle House" caught everyone's attention. Taking a mansion in Kent, England and doodling nearly every inch of the home was a fascinating story unto itself, but as Radio Juxtapoz visited in October 2022, as Frieze London was trying to grab the attention of the art world, felt like a well-timed respite for outsider art. Here, Mr. Doodle explains his home. —Evan Pricco, editor, Juxtapoz
I call it the “doodle house.” It's a house full of my doodles, from top to bottom, inside and out, all over the place. Happy little doodle characters everywhere. I first thought about the project when I was about 15 and I drew all over my bedroom and my parent’s house, all over the walls and stuff. I went to bed each night looking at the doodles and it'd be the first thing I saw when I woke up. Since then I’ve dreamt of just covering an entire property in doodles that I could live in. Really, the project just started as an idea. But then I didn't buy this house until the end of 2019, which is when the renovation began of turning the place into a blank white canvas in order for me to create doodles over.
I started in the bedroom first, because, before I lived in this house, I lived with my parents and that bedroom was becoming more and more covered with drawings—on the furniture, on the ceiling and stuff. I was beginning to get more and more used to the idea of living within a big doodle. Then when I found this place and started drawing, this room is where I began the doodles, the main bedroom, and I just loved how it looked. Even though we haven't moved in yet and we're moving in a couple of weeks, we have stayed in the room a few times, and it feels great waking up in here and seeing the drawings everywhere. Falling asleep and looking up and seeing just a few happy characters makes me smile and brings me a lot of joy.
There are a few from place to place throughout the house where I look and remember thinking, "Oh, I was listening to this music at that time," or, "That was that day when I got a hot chocolate and had a really nice afternoon." There are a few bits like that, and some where it was the first character I put on the actual wall of the room. Not every character does that, but a lot of them do. They do hold some memory or some form of trigger that causes me to think of something.
I started with the inside of the house, so a lot of people weren't ever going to see that, apart from friends and family we trust and who wouldn’t share pictures and things like that. But outside of the house, when I had to eventually move on to that, and doing the front in particular, whenever we had deliveries of things we'd ordered online or food or whatever, people would come to the house and be like, "What the heck is this?" —Mr. Doodle
The Doodle House is in Kent, England. This is an excerpt from the Radio Juxtapoz podcast and was originally published in the Winter 2023 Quarterly