When most people buy a new home, they might renovate the bathroom … or repaint a few walls. But Sam Cox (aka Mr. Doodle) had other plans. With around 240 gallons of white paint, 401 cans of black spray paint, 286 bottles of black drawing paint, and 2,296 pen nibs, the British artist spent two years covering everything in his $1.5 million Kent, England mansion in black and white doodles. And we mean everything.
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Cox, 28, began his ambitious art project in 2020, starting with his bedroom. The idea has long been a childhood dream, Cox explained on Instagram.
“I’d like to thank my Mum and Dad because ever since they let me draw over my bedroom walls when I was a kid I have wanted to live in a property completely covered in characters of my own creation,” Cox wrote.
In a stop-motion animation of the project, which Cox says took 1,857 photographs, viewers can see how thoroughly the artist transformed his 13-room house into a canvas. His black and white “graffiti spaghetti” even took over the toilet, microwave, and stove, which Cox admits might not work anymore.
“I want my work to consume as much of the planet as it can,” Cox told the Financial Times last year.
In interviews, Cox says he’s been influenced by popular artists like Banksy and Keith Haring, the second of which he says “is probably the biggest artist that’s done anything in the realm of what I’ve done.”
I noticed the inspiration from Keith Haring. pic.twitter.com/YVLFzmDLu4— TJ 🍂☕️ (@Wonderland2097) October 2, 2022
The difference between their styles — as Cox readily admits — is that his work isn’t as political as Haring’s oeuvre, which includes pieces like “Crack is Whack” and “Silence=Death.” Instead, Cox says he aspires to create a “happy visual language that everyone around the world can enjoy and feel involved in.”
The British artist has reached a global audience on social media, where he has amassed millions of followers since he started posting videos of his house project in 2020. A video of Cox’s most recent endeavor racked up more than 7 million views on TikTok, making it one of his most popular videos.
And as Cox’s popularity has soared so have the prices of his work.
Despite never showing in a gallery, Cox’s green and black canvas “Spring” fetched $1 million at auction in 2020, putting Mr. Doodle among the top-selling artists under 40.
But not everyone likes Cox’s maximalist style, especially when it comes to his doodle-covered home.
“Living in this house for 24 hours would likely drive a person insane,” one Twitter user wrote.
“This type of stuff, while impressive, is an overstimulating nightmare for me,” another user added.
While Cox’s house might be a nightmare to some, he and his wife Alena plan to live in their doodled home — squiggles and all.
“I’m pretty committed to staying in it,” he told the Washington Post. “We really like where we live, and we’re really happy being in the home. We want it to stay doodled … We think it’s really fun.”