Mr. Doodles, British artist Sam Cox, covered his Kent home in drawings

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LONDON — There are many ways to turn heads in a neighborhood: covering every inch of your home with black and white doodles is certainly one of them.

British artist Sam Cox, 28, says he fulfilled a childhood dream by turning his house into an original work of art and covering it in flowing monochrome designs.

“I’ve always wanted to live in a completely scrawled house,” he told the Washington Post on Tuesday. “It is for me the most natural way to create art and the most instinctive process when I pick up a pen and start drawing.”

He bought the 13-room mansion in Kent, south-east England, in 2019 and, with the help of family and friends, turned it into a perfectly white canvas ready to go. he starts his doodles.

The sheets, toilet seat, kitchen utensils, lampshades, and computer mouse are all scribbled – with no surfaces left blank.

“It’s all scribbled down,” he said. “It’s living like a work of art.”

A time-lapse video he posted online Monday shows the hand-drawn doodles have garnered millions of views around the world. He didn’t use computer-generated imagery, or CGI, he said. Instead, the animation is made from 1,857 photographs, “carefully taken between September 2020 and September 2022”.

Cox, who also goes by the name “Mr. Doodle,” has worked as an artist most of his life, and some of his work has fetched high prices at auction in Asia. Mr. Doodle isn’t a household name yet, but he’s well known in the art world and among fans, and his doodles appear in coloring books and on t-shirts.

He started drawing as a child and worked on hundreds of paper packets with his doodles. He then asked his parents if he could start doodling on the furniture and walls in his bedroom, which they agreed to after “some persuasion”, he added.

He tries not to plan the doodles too much, which he thinks will make his work “forced”. Instead, he gets lost in it. “My mind tends to wander and I end up thinking about all sorts of things,” he told the Post. “I just have a vague idea and I relax and let my hand do the work.”

The artist’s grand project spanned nearly two years, propelled in part by the coronavirus lockdowns in Britain.

Lockdowns “accidentally helped,” he told the Post. “We had to be indoors, and my main project was so easy to get to because we live there.”

He started in the bedrooms and doodled the upper floor, including a “cloud room” to brainstorm. Each piece has a loose theme as the doodle moves down, displaying animals and aliens. It ends with spray-painted designs outside his large house; especially in Britain it uses weatherproof paint. He also doodled his Tesla car, which school children like to wave to as he drives through town.

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The house is monochromatic, creating stark contrasts, Cox said. His wife, Alena, known as Mrs. Doodle, was also involved, sometimes coloring in her other canvas projects. She is originally from Kharkiv in Ukraine, and the artistic couple have product a colorful doodled heart as part of a charity project to raise money for children caught up in war.

All of his work is drawn by hand, and if he makes a mistake he tends to leave it, Cox said. “The nature of a doodle is to let it be,” he added.

Cox used 900 liters (238 gallons) of white paint, 401 cans of black spray paint and 286 bottles of black sketch paint, and he used 2,296 pen nibs for the doodles, he said.

However, this is not to everyone’s taste.

“You are not welcome in my home,” one person wrote online. “Big bits here and there are great but the whole house including the furniture will eventually hurt your eyes,” said another. “It’s a trypophobic nightmare,” one person added on Twitter, referring to people who suffer from fear of repetitive patterns.

Others online have also wondered if living surrounded by immersive art could be shocking. “You get used to it,” Cox said, explaining that he didn’t suffer from headaches or feel overly stimulated by the decorative walls. “It’s just complete and like a happy place when everything is scribbled.”

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Whether the house is a masterpiece or a monstrosity, the couple and their dog will continue to live there and have no plans to turn it into a gallery, Cox said. They are excited to create online tours, given the international interest.

“I’m pretty determined to stay in this,” he said. “We really like where we live and we’re really happy to be home. We want it to stay scribbled… We think it’s really fun.

The project was kept secret for two years, said Cox, who lived in constant fear that a delivery driver or neighbor might take a photo and share it online before it was completed. That didn’t happen, and his neighbors overwhelmingly supported the artistic curiosity he created, he said.

“It was a very good response,” he said. “They turned out to be really excited about it, and they can’t wait to come and tour.”

Cox has shows in China and says he wants to do more international projects soon. He is already looking for even bigger canvases to cover in his doodles. “I would love to do an entire street or a village one day,” he says.

For art snobs who may not consider the humble doodle a high-level art form, Cox said he wants to encourage students in classrooms or people stuck in meetings. to never consider their work as “just a doodle” and to know that it “can take you”. far.”

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